Shabbat Ki Tavo

Candles - September 8th @ 6:56pm
Havdalah - September 9th @ 7:50pm

We join Yassy Gershoony in his mourning for the loss of his brother. My he be comforted and know no more pain.

“When you come into the Land of Israel which God has given you and you settle it… you should bring some of the first fruits of the ground…place them in a basket and bring them to…God.”

For two thousand years when we were driven from our land, we were unable to obey this obligation. This expression of gratitude to God for our material needs and the benefits of tilling the earth. And we adapted to an existence that made such a law relating to the Land, inapplicable. Instead we channeled thought of gratitude into blessings, study and prayer.

Then we returned to our land. We had no Temple but as agriculture played an increasing role in Jewish life in Israel, the Kibbutzim adopted the First Fruit ceremonies and adapted them to the new reality. However, for most Israelis life was lived and increasingly is lived in cities. Agriculture plays an important part in Israel’s economy but plays a lesser role in the daily life of its citizens.

Yet the idea of giving, charitably, to other human beings and in terms of self-discipline and spirituality to God, should be playing a far greater role in our lives than they do. How often do we stop to thank God for everything, for getting up in the morning, for our bodies functioning healthily, for our loves and our lives and the benefits of our material existence?

The daily prayers start off with Modeh Ani (I thank you God). Throughout every day, we try to make 100 blessings to verbalize our thanks for everything, from a glass of water to a full meal. We are indeed grateful, for our lives, our places at college, our jobs, our businesses and the pleasures of love and life we all enjoy (most but never all) of the time.

We mean to. We think it's a good idea. But we do not do it often enough.