This week’s parsha, Ki Savo, begins its discussion with bikurim- the mitzvah to bring the first fruits to the Bait Hamikdash. The seven species are: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.
By bringing our first fruit to the temple, we are confirming our belief that Hashem is our G-d who bestowed His kindness upon us so that we could earn a livelihood and continuously be sustained. Additionally, the mitzvah of bikurim teaches us to express the utmost gratitude to Hashem for giving us a land that is fertile. For the kindness Hashem has bestowed upon us, giving us fruitful produce, we reserve the first ripe fruit for Him.
Moreover, anyone who has planted a garden, vineyard, etc., knows the amount of work, dedication, and patience he needs to yield results. Even more so, there is no guarantee that his garden will grow! The blessing that comes down to one’s garden, etc., is truly a gift from G-d.
If only today we could express the same joy over the fruit we eat! We have lost this sensitivity to appreciate all that Hashem has given us. Rather than focusing on the fruit we do have, and expressing gratitude over it, we seem to obsess over the fruit we don’t have. With the high holy days approaching, we should all pay additional attention to every piece of fruit Hashem has blessed us with! By taking the time to appreciate the small joys in life, we can attain true happiness. To implement this ideology on the most basic level next time you bite into apple, allow your mind to ponder the years of development that the tree needed to make before it gave birth to this tree fruit. With this heightened state of awareness, you will truly feel the utmost appreciation for even the simplest of snacks.
Moreover, Judaism teaches that the secret to a happy life is finding holiness in the physical world. The mitzvah of bikurim truly gives us insight on how to develop our happiness within, taking the physical world (fruit) and elevating it (giving our fruit to Hashem). May we all find the strength within to develop this heightened gratitude!