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Torah Portion of Ki Tavo - Serving with Joy and Good Heart?

Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

This week's portion includes: Bringing to the Temple as an offering the first fruits of the Seven Species special to the Land of Israel, Declaration of tithes, the Almighty designating the Jewish people as His treasured people (Deut. 26:16 -19), the command to set up in the Jordan River and then on Mount Ebal large stones which had the Torah written upon them in 70 languages, the command to have a public ratification of the acceptance of the Law from Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal; the Torah then sets forth the blessings for following the Law and the curses for not following it, and concludes with Moshe's final discourse. Verse 28:46 tells us the importance of serving the Almighty with "joy and a good heart." The last verse of the portion instructs us "You shall fulfill the words of this covenant and do them so that you will succeed in all that you do!"

For Noahides

Is it also important for Noahides to serve the Almighty with "joy and a good heart"?

We take on the 7 Mitzvot because G-d commanded them through Moses. We know that we will be rewarded in this life and in the world to come if we observe the 7 Mitzvot and their details to the best of our ability. 6 of the 7 Mitzvot are stated negatively as for example "do not steal", but each commandment can also be brought in a positive way. In this example that then becomes "respect possessions of another".

Or HaChaim points out that “serving “points to the positive commandments Jews have to do. If you take that thought to the 7 Mitzvot then - staying with the example - that your feelings don't matter so much when it comes to stealing, you just don't do that, period. But with the converse "respect another's possessions" you do so with joy and a good heart. For example, you look forward to returning your neighbor's lost property to its owner.

You could also extend it to positive logical commandments that Noahides may take on such as, for example, giving time or money to charities. Certainly when you give to people you should do so with a smile on your face. But not only that you should also feel joy inside that you are able to help people.

תַּ֗חַת אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹא-עָבַ֙דְתָּ֙ אֶת-יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּשִׂמְחָ֖ה וּבְט֣וּב לֵבָ֑ב מֵרֹ֖ב כֹּֽל׃

Because you would not serve your God in joy and gladness over the abundance of everything

We receive everything from G-d that we need, not only for ourselves but also enough to give to another. This knowledge should make us joyful that we receive from Him to be able to pass on.

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners en intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.

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Or HaChaim on Deuteronomy 28:47:1


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