inscribe you, your entire family, and all those who are dear to
you in the book of life for a healthy, happy, prosperous and
sweet new year and may we see the redemption through Moshiach
This Shabbat is we read the portion of Ki Tavo. The portion
begins with the Mitzvah of Bikkurim, the first fruits, and
continues with the Mitzvah of tithing. The Mitzvah of Bikkurim
consists of taking the first fruits of our crops and bringing
them to the
in Yerushalayim where they were distributed among the Kohanim.
Rashi explains that when one sees the first fruits ripening, he
marks it and declares it Bikkurim. At the time of the harvest he
separates it to bring to Yerushalayim.
The Mishnah describes the bringing of the first fruit as an
elaborate and joyous ceremony. All of the Jews in a region would
gather together. As they walked to Yerushalayim, the procession
was lead by an ox with golden horns and a crown of olive leaves.
They would proceed slowly, singing the entire way. The Bikkurim
were brought in elaborate vessels, adorned with doves. Upon
reaching Yerushalayim, the city officials would come and greet
the pilgrims. Upon reaching the
even the wealthiest individuals would personally carry their
Bikkurim until the altar. There, they would thank Hashem for the
and for all of Hashem's blessings.
The Mitzvah of Bikkurim itself teaches us that the first
thing we must see in everything is it's potential for serving
Hashem. This is the strongest expression of our faith that
everything we have is a gift from Hashem. Before we enjoy the
fruits of our labor, we use them for a Mitzvah. The significance
of the first is also very great. First impressions have a long
effect. When the first usage of something is for the service of
Hashem, directs its further usage. This is also why the first
word we say each day should be Modeh Ani, thanking G-d for life.
Similarly, we begin the day with prayer and Torah study in order
to direct the day in the right manner.
The manner of bringing Bikkurim is a tremendous lesson. The
procession and the ornamentation demonstrate that a Mitzvah is
not a burden, but rather an act of love and joy. We are
privileged to serve Hashem and whether a Mitzvah entails
physical or financial exertion, we rejoice in fulfilling it.
The fundamental importance of joy in service of G-d is further
stressed later in the portion. The Torah describes blessings
which come for following G-d’s commandments and negative
consequences for going against the path of G-d. At the end of
the consequences, the Torah explains that all of the bad came
for not serving Hashem with joy and a good heart. The Arizal, a
great Kabbalist, explains the verse to mean that even had we
served Hashem, but without joy, we deserve punishment. Through
service with joy, we merit all of the blessings.
By discussing Ma’aser (tithing) in the portion we read
shortly before Rosh Hashanah, the Torah gently reminds us to
fulfill our charity obligations at this time. When the Torah
discusses the Mitzvah of Ma’aser Rashi comments that the power
of gifts to the needy is so strong it changes Hashem’s severity
to kindness. May we merit the ultimate kindness and see the
coming of Moshiach right now!!
Shalom and a Ketivah Vachatimah Tovah Leshana Tovah Umetukah,
memory of Chaim Ben Mazal Chabbott. May Hashem grant him perfect
bliss in Gan Eden
As the holidays approach, now is the time to make sure that all
of your holiday needs are taken care of. If anyone needs a place
to pray for the holidays or help attaining a Sukkah or Lulav and
Etrog, please contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org As the coming year is a Hakhel year,
special emphasis should be placed on including as many Jews as
possible in services and holiday Mitzvot.
teaches that increasing Torah study brings Hashem's protection
to the Jewish people and particularly to the people of
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