This week's parsha is Ki Tavo. As all the parshas in the book of Devarim, Moshe addresses the Israelites before they enter the ‘Promised Land’. He explains the important instructions about building a harmonious community.
The parasha emphasizes the importance of expressing gratitude. In Ki Tavo, Moshe instructs the Israelites to bring their first fruits to the future Temple as an offering of appreciation to G-d. When bringing the Bikkurim (the first fruits), the person has to recite a short version of the Exodus story, how bad the state we were in and then finishing off with how it led to the present:
“He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Wherefore I now bring the first fruits of the soil which You, G-d, have given me” (Devarim loop 26,1-11).
The message is powerful - Being grateful and happy starts with looking backwards to the past. When we are “harvesting” and enjoying our success or possessions, we need to think how so many things could have gone wrong in the process. How lucky we are to have what we have.
Being in a grateful mindset, doesn't only make us happy people, but also rich people. Abundance comes from recognizing and appreciating what we have. How so?
There is a saying in Masechet Avot (4,1): “Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot”. A person who is grateful always feels that he has plenty. A wealthy man who always wants more is never happy and will not consider himself rich enough, and therefore is actually poor. If we focus on the good things that we have and on our successes - we will be rich. Truly.
Gabriel, Grade 12