Against Entitlement

Parashat Ki Tavo

Deuteronomy portrays God as a gracious giver of gifts. Yet Deuteronomy worries that these gifts could easily become snares, that the people will feel entitled to God's bounty instead of being grateful for it and that they will therefore come to forget the God who has given them so much. Deuteronomy is passionately concerned with preventing that kind of apostasy; the first-fruits ceremony prescribed in Parashat Ki Tavo is a liturgical attempt to keep gratitude from dissipating in the face of affluence and abundance. (5774)