Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Ki Savo

Recognizing His Gifts

By Rabbi Elly Broch

"It will be when you enter the land that G-d your Lord gives you as an inheritance...that you shall take of the first of every fruit of the ground...and you shall put it in a basket...and the Kohen (priest) shall take the basket from your hand, and lay it before the altar of G-d your Lord." (Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:1-4)

After the landowner gave the basket of fruits to the priest, he thanked G-d for the miraculous history of the Jewish people, culminating with inheriting the fertile, fruit bearing Land of Israel. Although this gift appears to be a noble and humble act, it is quite striking to note the Medrash in Beraishis Raba (1:6): "In the merit of fulfilling the commandment of bringing the first fruits the world was created." What aspect of this commandment is so profound that the creation of the world was contingent on its fulfillment?

The Talmud (Brachos 4b) teaches that the Sages assured a share in the World to Come to anyone who recites Psalm 145 properly three times a day (it was included thrice daily in the liturgy as "Ashrei"). This psalm was given a special status because no other psalm possesses both of its virtues: the initials of the psalm's respective verses follow the order of the Hebrew alphabet and it contains inspiring testimony to G-d's daily mercy: "You open your hand and satisfy the will of every living thing." (v.16) In contrast, the Talmud also teaches that one who recites daily the group of psalms which combine to form the Hallel service is a blasphemer. The psalms of Hallel deal with praises for miracles and Divine protection our people enjoyed, such as the Exodus from Egypt. We recite this service on festivals and days that commemorate escape from calamity. Why is the daily recital of Ashrei encouraged whereas the daily recital of Hallel discouraged?

Rabbeinu Yona explains that while it is meritorious to recall past miracles and demonstrate appreciation for them, one should not however focus on past open miracles at the expense of appreciating the subtle miracles we enjoy daily. We are instructed to recite Psalm 145 daily because it reminds us that we have to gain awareness of G-d's mercy not only through the miracles and testimonies enumerated in the Torah but also through investigation of the natural, mundane and seemingly automatic workings of nature. Due to habituation it is all too easy to take nature for granted. However, closer consideration of the plan and purpose evident in fruit production - such as the fruit's waterproof protective wrapper (the skin), the change of color indicating that it has become ripe to eat and the seeds inside to perpetuate the species - can prevent this misconception and remind us of our Creator's constant benevolence.

One of the primary purposes of creation is our recognition that the world has a Creator who constantly showers us with gifts, whether it is our delicious food, our precious health or our dear family. The commandment to bring the first fruits to G-d's Sanctuary awakens and reminds us that life and the world around us are Divine gifts not to be taken for granted.

Have a Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Elly Broch and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

It's Not What You Want - But How You Ask
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

What Causes One to be Appreciative?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Good Eye
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

Of Prophets and Teachers
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

A Judgement Call
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Words, Words, and More Words
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

The Bobover Rebbe Zt"l
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Visions, Visionaries, and Holy Words
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

ArtScroll

Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Golden Opportunities
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Murphy's Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

> Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Wise Rebuke
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Payment in Full
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5766

Shabbos Chazon
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information