In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Ki Tavo, we are introduced to the Mitzvah of Bikkurim, the annual bringing of the first fruit up to Jerusalem. Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, comments on this unique Mitzvah, “The significance of the first fruits declaration is that it is not about nature but about history.”
His words are quite puzzling. How can new fruits be connected to history? A deeper look at the actual Mitzvah of Bikkurim can help us understand the message that Rabbi Sacks is trying to convey to us. When someone would come to Jerusalem with new fruits, they did not simply come with their basket. There was also an obligation to recite some of our history and express deep appreciation of for all that we as the Jewish people have overcome and now enjoy. From surviving the murderous intentions of Lavan, Esau, and the Egyptians, to finally settling the land and turning Israel in to the land that truly flowed with milk and honey. The process of Bikkurim was a sincere fulfillment of the moral imperative of expressing our deepest gratitude.
While we do not participate in the Mitzvah of Bikkurim today, we are not exempt from expressing our gratitude to our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. They laid the groundwork for all that we have today, and we must be eternally grateful to them or all that we have.
Right now in the whole world, and particularly in Argentina, we are living in a difficult situation; we are exhausted from the constant lockdowns and it is very hard not being able to see our friends. However, this time has also helped us appreciate the little things like celebrating Shabbat with our family or playing card games. It has helped reinforce just how grateful we are to our parents for all they did for us to be living the way we are living, for having a house, and for creating strong relationships. We are also so grateful to BBYO for providing us with friends and community to help us get through this difficult time.
The Bikkurim fruits reminds us that life goes on and it is our responsibility to build for the future much like our ancestors did for us. Through gratitude and appreciation, we must find the inspiration to live our best lives and then transmit our values, morals, and traditions to the next generation as well.
Leyla Licht, BBYO Argentina
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
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