Ki Tavo: do we need to be happy?

Ki Tavo: do we need to be happy?

Dear Friends,

In the Monty Python film “Life of Brian,” the main character ends the movie hung on a cross, singing “always look on the bright side of life.”  It is of course absurd, making fun of the notion that we could always be chipper and lighthearted, even when being killed.

Our Torah portion, though, seems to agree with Brian.  In the list of curses, it writes “All these curses will befall you…because you did not serve the Lord, your G0d, with happiness and with gladness of heart, when [you had an] abundance of everything.” (Dt 28:45-47).  If we serve God with joy, we experience blessings; if we do not have gladness, perhaps even if we do the right thing (“serve God”) but do it sullenly, we invite curses into our life.

It seems counter-intuitive that we would have to be happy, and of course there are times that it would not be appropriate (just look at the news).  It is exactly because there are so many terrible things that happen in the world and in our own lives, that we need to stay happy, that we need to recognize the blessings in our life, celebrate them, and maintain our joy.

Please join us Saturday night at 8:30 as we prepare for the High Holidays by examining our life in an open hearted way, with music, readings, and contemplation.

I also would like to invite you to join me for high holidays via zoom, with Congregation Gan Eden; tickets are at for $54, and need to be purchased today (apologies for the short notice)

Preteens/Teens: great sample class Tuesday at 5 exploring shaming-we all think of shaming as bad, but are there ever times when it is appropriate to “call someone out,” like to encourage someone to get vaccinated or to wear a bicycle helmet?  This is a taste of our relevant and thought provoking “Torah and Today” class on practical Jewish Ethics. Join us!  register here

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi David Siff

Please consider contributing to Kol HaLev this new year; your contribution helps us offer meaningful worship, community, and education in Palm Beach County and nationally.

Other Upcoming events:

  • High Holidays with Congregation Gan Eden: ticket sales are currently on hold as shift to a hybrid virtual/in-person format.  Unfortunately in-person tickets have sold out but we will be streaming services online.
  • Sharing Joy and Thanksgiving: Kabbalat Shabbat & dinner and with special guest Julius Sanna, Sept 24 6:00 (tickets required
  • Sukkot Family Festival Sept 26th

Jewish Virtual Academy: substantive, engaging online Jewish learning!

Try the classes that kids say are a “bajillion” times better than Hebrew School!

Students love our classes because they actually learn something relevant to their lives.  Our teachers are experts at bringing deep Torah learning to kids in an engaging way.

  • A La Carte Virtual Judaics: Mitzvah Class, Torah & Today, Torah Through Drama, & Moot Court Competition
  • Classes start October 4th (note the change in date); registration due September 10th

Try out our virtual academy for free:

  • Torah and Today: “Shaming”  Study with Rabbi Andrew Shapiro Katz examining the line between encouragement and shaming, and whether shaming is ever appropriate  (grades 6-12), August 30th, 5:00; register here
  • Mitzvah Class: “When is repentance complete?” taught by Sarah Rosenson (grades 2-6) September 13th, 5:00. register here.

more details on our programs at

registration packet HERE

Generous scholarships available–we make Jewish education available to all regardless of financial status

To register or further questions, contact

Please consider helping the school with a donation at the link below.