Ki Tavo: Expanding God’s Presence
“I have declared today to God, your Lord (Deuteronomy 26:3).” “Your Lord,” instead of, “our Lord,” seems incomprehensible here. How could the person making this declaration be allowed to exclude himself from the community by using such grammar? It appears as if he did not share the same belief in God as did his compatriots!
However, consider that if the wording had been, “our Lord,” it would not have been clear whom he considered as the Lord. Now that he uses the wording written by the Torah it is clear that when he addresses the High Priest, he speaks of the Lord on whose behalf this Priest officiates. The moment he associates the Lord with the One in Whose service the Priest serves, there can be no doubt that the donor also serves the same Lord, else, why present the gift to the High Priest of that Lord?
It is now clear that who ver is the Lord of the High Priest is also the Lord of the person bringing the First Fruits.
It is possible that the expression introducing this declaration, “I have declared,” Higadti, represents a sort of a continuation such as in Psalms (51:17), “And let my mouth express, Yaggid, Your fame,” i.e. continue, extend the power of You, God, which is already evident in the world.
The person engaged in prayer effectively extends God’s power, seeing that the very fact that he turns to God and supplication proves that he acknowledges God’s power to grant his request (Rabbeinu Bachya).
“My Master, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise,” can be read as, “that my mouth may continue, or extend, Your praise beyond what is already manifest.” It is a statement that I desire my prayer to expand God’s Presence in the world. The agenda is God’s Presence; not my needs. Any requests are to empower me/us to expand God’s Presence in His creation.