Ki Tavo means “when you enter”—referring to entering the Land that the Lord was giving to the Children of Israel as a possession and an inheritance. In this portion, Moses pronounces the blessings that the Children of Israel would be rewarded with in keeping the commandments of the Torah, then gives a warning of the harsh punishments that would come upon them if they disobeyed God’s commandments. These punishments include illness, famine, war, poverty, and exile. The section which lists these punishments incurred for disobedience are known as tokhachah, meaning “rebuke.”
What’s interesting is that the portion goes on to say that these punishments are: “because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things;” (JPS 1917, Deut. 28:47).
It’s not that God punishes the people for being unhappy; rather, He warns them about the difficulties and trouble brought about by unhappiness. He reminds them that they could gain so much more by serving Him with joy rather than heaviness of heart.
Likewise, God wants us to be joyful and enthusiastic in serving Him—just as joyful and enthusiastic as we are when doing other things that we love, such as engaging in our favorite hobbies or eating our favorite foods. When you are joyful in serving God simply because you love Him, your children and the people around you will see it and be impacted by it. You can inspire them with your joy.