Saturday 21st September 2019 21st Elul 5779

PARASHAT KI TAVO by Rabbi Russ Resnik

Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8; Isaiah 60:1-22; Matthew 4:13-24

We humans may say we like change, but something within us resists it. It’s part of our human nature to stick with routine and the status quo—especially when it comes to inward things. We might like to try out new experiences, new flavors and colors and places, but when it comes to changing the things closest to ourselves, we’re most likely to resist. Just ask anyone—including yourself—who’s tried to exercise more or eat less or phase out some unhealthy habit. We resist change.

As a rabbi I’ve noticed over the years this sort of resistance when we talk about one of the great themes of our current season—teshuva or repentance. I can even imagine some of my readers groaning as I bring up that term. Yes, we emphasize teshuva during the whole period leading up to Rosh Hashana, and then on Rosh Hashana and all the way through Yom Kippur. Our tradition provides lengthy prayers of remorse and confession . . . and we have to overcome inner resistance to really put our hearts into this whole practice.

Folks sometimes raise a theological objection: “I did teshuva when I accepted Yeshua. I turned away from sin and turned back to God once for all. Why do you keep bringing it up again?” I’ll keep my response really simple. Yeshua himself gave us a model daily prayer that includes these lines in Matthew 6:11–13:

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.