Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Today, the 18th of Elul, is the birthday of the Ba'al Shem Tov, founder of the Hasidic movement. Here is a brief prescription of his for elevating every thought, word, and action every day of our lives.
This week's Torah portion, Ki Tavo, describes the ceremony of the first fruits: A farmer goes out to his orchard, sees the first ripe fruit and, instead of taking a bite, puts the fruit in a basket and takes it with him to Jerusalem in a festive procession.
The Ba'al Shem Tov explained that all our beginnings, all the initial moments of our endeavors, all the first fruits in our lives deserve special attention and elevation.
He called upon us to elevate our daily "first fruits," the moments upon awakening each day, in the following manner: "It is essential to pay attention to the firsts of each day: the first thought, the first word spoken, the first action."
Do we awaken with a positive or a negative thought? What is the first sentence that leaves our mouth, a complaint or a compliment? And what is the first thing that we do? Is it an action that will pull everything we do during the day in the direction of goodness and kindness? The first fruits ceremony is not just ancient history. It is something we can replicate again and again, each morning, every day of our lives.
Have a good day.