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Dvar Torah: Ki Tavo

Friday, 15 September, 2017 - 2:59 pm

 Dvar Torah: Ki TavoJustin Fasman
by Justin Fasman
 

I feel very blessed and fortunate to be speaking in front of everyone tonight at Sammy Shabbat. But to be completely honest, my Dvar Torah is a reflection of the people I’ve surrounded myself with over the past year. So in essence, my words is a combination of learning and thinking of my Jewish identity, being a brother of Sammy, and surviving (and “thriving”) as a student at the University of Texas. Thank you Rabbi Zev and Sammy for letting me speak and
share this night with our awesome new pc and all the actives here tonight.
 
Last year felt like a long time; I think it was because every experience I had was a new one. College courses reached a new academic intensity that I’d yet to experience, the city I lived in was brand new, and I didn’t really have a sense of identity yet in the new journey I was beginning to embark on. Some may have felt lost in that situation, which is absolutely normal
and okay, but I took at as a learning experience.
 
This week’s Parshah is Ki Tavo. G-d provided the people of Israel land that represents their eternal heritage. Moses instructed those people, as they entered the land, to settle it, cultivate it, and bring the first-ripened fruits to the Holy Temple. Moses then told the people of Israel to declare their gratitude for all that G-d has done for them. He reminded the people that they are
G-d’s chosen people, and that they, in turn, have chosen G-d.
 
The people of Israel entered the land without knowledge of their future life. The way I interpret is that although the unknown can be frightening, they had a place that demonstrated their eternal heritage and a place to settle and cultivate the land given to them. This week’s Parshah translates to “When you Enter,” and I find that to be analogous to the way I view my life in Texas.

I entered Texas with an open-mind that all students here should, regardless of where you’re from. UT is a fruitful place, an institution to freely think, debate, learn, and grow. Entering the land that G-d had provided His people was theirs to settle and cultivate. I view UT and Chabad with the same vision. In the classroom, students will grow intellectually. At Chabad, we learn the
importance of coming together, all as individuals, but with the same identity. The two work hand-in- hand, and without Rabbi Zev and his family, that wouldn’t be possible. This place is special, so….
 
Most importantly, say Thank You and remember to express gratitude to the people that supported you and pushed you along the way. Without them, you would most likely not be sitting here right now—together as a community, and together as Sammy. The world given to us by G-d is ours to keep. I hope that with our education and commitment to help one another, we will stand together to protect our world, Israel, and each other.
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