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Remembering to be grateful

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The nation of Israel has arrived in the Promised Land and, several hundred years later, is firmly established there. Our Torah portion speaks of a farmer in those days who goes out to his orchard and sees the year's first fruits on his trees. He takes from these fruits, brings them up to Jerusalem, and in an emotional ceremony gives a speech that is entirely about thanks for the past and hope for the future. What is the meaning of this ceremony? Why would you, the farmer, need to get so emotional over your first figs? Rashi explains why: "So that you are not ungrateful."

This is a kind of test: Do you know how to be thankful for what you have and to rejoice in it? To see the Source of everything and not to take anything for granted? This message was to be internalized upon entering the Land of Israel and for all time. To continually identify and extol HaShem's goodness and kindness, and to give thanks to Him for what He does for us every hour of every day. Never to cease to praise and glorify God with the utmost enthusiasm. Despite the corona, politics, and everything else, Jews of every generation would have traded places with us without question and with unmitigated joy.

The words of the grateful farmer call upon us to look around and express thanks, right now, in order to make sure we are never ungrateful.


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