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    Blessing to leave the synagogue – Ki Tavo

    baruch ata bevoecha blessingBlessings and curses fill a large part of the Torah reading this Shabbat.

    The blessings include these lovely words, “Blessed are you when you come in, blessed are you when you go out” (Deut. 28:6).

    A rabbinic interpretation is, “Blessed are you when you enter the Bet Midrash and blessed when you leave”.

    It is quite obvious why a person feels blessed when entering the Bet Midrash with the joy of Torah study and prayer about to unfold.

    But to be blessed when leaving all this behind – how are we to understand that thought?

    One answer is that a person who has work to go to when leaving the Bet Midrash is indeed blessed, not only because work makes it possible to support one’s family but because by means of work we can each make a contribution to the welfare of other people and the upbuilding of society.

    An additional answer is that it is when one leaves the comfort zone of the Bet Midrash that the opportunity is there to translate the ethical teachings of the Bet Midrash into the practical reality of daily living.

    The Bet Midrash teaches us to be fair and honest: it is the world outside where we put these principles into action.

    Bet Midrash means “House of Study” but in this sense the term applies also to the synagogue. Entering the synagogue is not meant to be an escape from reality but the means of preparing to face reality.

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