Ki Tavo - Enthusiasm Sweetens the Judgement

The L-rd has not given you a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear, until this day.
וְלֹא נָתַן יְ־קוָ־ק לָכֶם לֵב לָדַעַת וְעֵינַיִם לִרְאוֹת וְאָזְנַיִם לִשְׁמֹעַ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה
Devarim 29:3
What is this verse referring to?
Rashi comments on this verse, explaining.
I heard that on the very day that Moses gave the Torah scroll to the sons of Levi, as the verse says, “Then Moses wrote this Torah, and gave it to the priests, the descendants of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of Hashem and to all the elders of Israel” (Dvarim 31:9). All Israel came before Moses and said to him: “Moses, our Teacher! We also stood at [Mount] Sinai and accepted the Torah, and it was [also] given to us! Why, then, are you giving the members of your tribe control over it, so that some day in the future they may claim, 'It was not given to you-it was given only to us!’” Moses rejoiced over this matter and it was on account of this, that he said to them, “This day, you have become a people [to the L-rd your G-d]” (Deut. 27:9). [This meant:] “It is today that I understand that you cleave to the Omnipresent and desire Him.”
The Significance of this Day
The Slonimer Rebbe asks in Netivot Shalom, what did Moshe see as the special significance of this day? Didn't Moshe see the people of Israel suffering in Egypt?  risking everything at the parting of the Red Sea? and at Mount Sinai receiving the Torah? The people of Israel sacrificed,  and put their lives on the line there. Yet what was special about this day?

On this day, Moshe saw the greatness of enthusiasm and the love that the people of Israel had for Hashem, there great desire for Torah. The rebbe says that today no Jew can reach the level of a 'heart that knows', that is to truly know Hashem, and eyes that see, that is to see the greatness of creation, and ears to hear - except only by love. When a Jew has this love and enthusiasm he can reach heights and levels of understanding where he truly has a heart that knows, eyes that see, and ears that hear. Only after 40 years in the desert did the people of Israel reach this level. 

The First Fruits
Around this theme we see the greatness of the idea of 'Bikurim' - giving of one's first fruits. A Midrash says that the whole world was created because of Bikurim.

Bikurim? Why?

Even though there are 613 mitzvot and out of these many more mitzvot that require much more effort to carry out than Bikurim, nevertheless, the creation of the world hinges on the mitzvah of Bikurim since this mitzvah displays the underlying love and enthusiasm that a Jew has for Hakadosh Baruch Hu. That one who is ready to give away the choicest, first pick of his efforts, out of his hard work and investment in his fields. Likewise, the first produce to come of his efforts would be the most dear to him, so it is especially important to see how willing one who is ready to give these up for Hashem, to give up the items that he would be the most passionate about. And so we see that the entire world owes it's existence to the enthusiasm and passion associated with Bikurim.

Enthusiasm at Rosh Hashana
At this time of year, Rosh Hashana stands just around the corner. In blowing the shofar, there is a section of shofar blowing called the Tekiot HaMyushav - the sitting blasts.

The commonly accepted custom for blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah in the communal services is that after the Torah is read and returned to its place, the congregation is seated. While the congregation is seated one person stands and recites the blessing. This practice is mentioned in Rosh Hashanah 16a and the Sh'eltot of Rav Achai Gaon. While Sephardim and Yemenites continue to sit, however, today it is Ashkenazic custom to stand when hearing these shofar blasts. Nevertheless, based on this original practice, these are still referred to as teki'ot meiyoshav - "the teki'ot sounded while seated." (Rambam Ch. 3 Halachah 10)

In Halacha for the "sitting blasts", one technically does not have to stand. We only stand to fool the Satan.  Is he so foolish that he doesn't understand this ruse? Really what fools the Satan is the enthusiasm we pour into the Shofar Blowing, both the sitting blasts and the standing blasts.

Connection to Shabbat
A consistent theme in the commentary of the Netivot Shalom is the significance of Shabbat. Here the rebbe relates how Shabbat signifies the acronym Shabbat Bo Tashuv, meaning that tshuvah (repentence) on Shabbat  is the most powerful form and time for returning, and re-establishing a connection with Hashem. Tshuvah is motivated by the power of enthusiasm that a Jew has on Shabbat for HaKadosh Baruch Hu how one could possibly act against His will. As it says "and you call the Shabbat a delight [oneg]" (Yeshayahu 58:13) - that is the essential effort on Shabbat is to provide enjoyment to Hashem. Tshuvah on Shabbat is amongst the greatest delights for Hashem, hence the acronym Shabbat BTashuv.

This is where we learn the expression in Midrash Tanchuma - honoring the Shabbat is greater than a thousand fast days. That is to say that taking delight in Shabbat demonstrates the enthusiasm that a Jew has for Hakadosh Baruch Hu. From this Teshuvah, Hashem takes delight in the Shabbat, therefore making Oneg Shabbat greater than a thousand fast days. 

Sweeting the Judgement
When you don't serve Hashem with happiness, that is not taking delight in Shabbat. Even if you have sinned, and ignored the voice of Hashem to keep His mitzvot, you have power of Tshuvah on the Holy Shabbat to provide enjoyment for Hashem, and covers up all the transgressions.

Thus in the mitzvah of Shofar Blowing, that is meant to sweeten the judgement, that fulfilling the mitzvah itself provides the greatest confusion to the Satan out of Am Yisrael's enthusiasm, and that enthusiasm itself sweetens the judgement. 

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