This week’s Torah portion is parshat כי תבוא (ki tavo).  Ki tavo can be translated as “when you enter” and it is referencing our ancestors who were about to enter a new land, the Land of Israel, for the first time in many generations.

Our Middat Hashavua this week is, “appreciate new creations and experiences”; in Hebrew it is:

וְלָקַחְתָּ֞ מֵרֵאשִׁ֣ית ׀ כָּל־פְּרִ֣י הָאֲדָמָ֗ה

The Torah teaches us that when our ancestors entered the new land, they were tasked with taking their first fruits and sharing them at the Temple. They were to do so as a sign of appreciation and gratitude – gratitude and appreciation for bringing them to a new land as well as gratitude and appreciation for a new beginning, one full of hope, optimism, and opportunity.

Just like in our Torah portion where our ancestors were about to enter a new land and a new beginning, we too are entering several new beginnings. Top of mind is a new school year followed very closely by a new Jewish year. And just like our ancestors, we too should be grateful for new beginnings and new opportunities, be it the school year or the Jewish year, and we too should be full of hope and optimism for a better tomorrow. 

On a personal note, I am entering one additional new beginning. My beginning as principal at this wonderful school, the Toronto Heschel School. Just like our ancestors entering the new land, and each of you entering a new school year and new Jewish year, I am also full of hope and optimism, as well appreciation and gratitude.  I feel so blessed to be part of this community, and I look forward to the opportunity that has been given to me to help this school thrive and grow מחיל לחיל – from strength to greater strength.

As we each embark on our new beginnings, may we all grow in appreciation and gratitude, may we cherish every new moment and new experience, may we never take any moment or opportunity for granted, and may this year be a year of blessings for all of us!

Shabbat Shalom U’Mevorach!

שבת שלום ומבורך!

Moreh Alan