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Parashat Ki Tavo

I'm not sure if the expression "och" is uniquely South African or a universal term to express dissatisfaction. In any case, the term is used quite frequently:

"Och, I wish the neighbour's dog would hurry up and die already"

"Och, I've run out of toilet paper"

"Och, I wish I didn't have to get out of bed for a glass of water"

"Och, can't the children pick themselves up from school"

"Och, I already have the coles mini Nutella, I was hoping for the dishwasher soap!"

For Bnei Yisrael in Parashat Ki Tavo, their 'och' was:

"Och, why did only the Levites get a Sefer Torah. It's not fair"

Do you see the difference between our och and their och? In fact, because of this special type of och, Moshe rejoices. Now before this whole thing turns into a Dr Seuss from Mochentochen Bloch ramble, let me explain.

Moses rejoices because Am Yisrael has finally begun to complain about big picture ideas and concepts. 40 years after receiving the Torah, they complain bitterly at the thought that one sect of their nation might take ownership of their precious Torah. For a nation that has been known to complain about spiritual-Netflix-rain-food-that-can-taste-like-anything-you-think-of-on-demand (manna), because it couldn't taste like onion or garlic, this is the complaint of the century! Moshe is ecstatic, this time they are complaining because of a real issue that confronts their values, rather than their taste buds.

Rabbi Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi explains that the small things that trouble a person are often the best indicator of their spiritual state. So next time you hear (or say) the word "och", consider what you are complaining about and what that says about you.

Until we kvetch again!

Shabbat Shalom


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