Rest period was a quiet time of the day at camp. No one in bunk tes was bothered by the daily sing-song coming from Yankie’s bed. They were already used to it.

“Yankie is working hard for his Bar Mitzvah,” Dani said.

“Uh huh” said Itchie. Thenhebegan chanting, “Vihayah ki savo el haeretz... Hey, by now I know that layning myself!”

Ki Savo?” said Dani in surprise. “Yankie just showed me the invitation yesterday, and I’m almost sure it said Shabbos Parshas Ki Seitzei. Has he been working so hard on the wrong parshah?

“No,” replied Itchie. “It’s Lubavitch custom. If the day of your Bar Mitzvah comes out on Friday or on Shabbos, you don’t get your first aliyah during Shacharis; you get it during Minchah. Yankie didn’t want just to get an aliyah. He also wanted to read from the Torah, and that’s why he’s preparing the beginning of Parshas Ki Savo.

Mendy, the boys’ counselor, saw this as a good opportunity to give over a sichah. “Boys, how about a question or two? The head counselor will surely be pleased that bunk tes used some of the rest period for learning. This one is for you Arik, because you speak Hebrew. “On Shabbos Parshas Ki Seitzei, we read Ki Savo at Minchah. Though they are read on the same day, there is something about their names that makes them seem different from each other.”

“Different?” replied Arik. “Their names are practically opposite! Seitzi means to go out and Savo means to come in.”

Ki Seitzei speaks about going out to war,” explained Mendy. “And Ki Savo tells about how we will enter Eretz Yisrael, settle the land, and bring the first fruits as thanksgiving offerings to HaShem. Yet we read both parshiyos on the same Shabbos. Though they are opposites, they are connected.”

“How?” asked Dani.

“Let’s look into the way Ki Seitzei starts,” Mendy continued. “Ki seitzei lamilchamah al oyvecho — ‘When you go out to war against your enemies.’ But al doesn’t always mean ‘against.’ What does al usually mean?”

“Above,” answered Itchie.

“That’s what Ki Seitzei begins telling us,” explained Mendy. “When a Jew’s neshamah is in heaven, it’s not waging any wars. But when it comes down to olam hazeh — our material world — and it sets out to make a dirah bitachtonim, then it faces a real battle. But we have to know that even when we fight a spiritual war, we are always al oyvecho, ‘above our enemies.’ The neshamah is a cheilek Elokah mimal mamash, a spark of HaShem, and there is nothing in this world that can overcome it.

Ki Savo speaks about coming to Eretz Yisrael, settling it, and living in it the way HaShem wants us to.When a Jew is in the middle of Ki seitzei lamilchamah, struggling to make this world a dirah for HaShem, he should know that he has a promise of success. Soon the peace and plenty of Ki Savo will replace the wars of Ki Seitzei.

“And even more, a Jew has to see the future in the present. That’s why we read Ki Savo on Shabbos Parshas Ki Seitzei — to show us that this is not merely a promise for the future, but something we can have a taste of now.”

(Adapted from Sefer HaSichos 5750, Vol. II, p. 655ff, Sefer HaSichos 5751, Vol. II, p. 796)