Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Ki Tavo - 5771
THE CHARACTER TRAIT OF APPRECIATION
The first section in this week's Parasha deals with the Mitzvah of the bringing of Bikkurim (the first fruits). The pilgrims who brought up the Bikkurim to the Beit Hamikdash were obligated to recite a declaration set forth in the Torah. This declaration was incorporated into a beautiful and grand festive celebration with a procession of pilgrims marching up to Yerushalaim, and then to the Beit Hamikdash, with gold, silver or willow baskets to which live birds were tied. The pilgrims were led by flutists and when they arrived they were greeted by dignitaries. The procession would then resume with the flutist in lead, until the Beit Hamikdash, where the Leviim would break out in song. The birds were given as sacrificial offerings and the declaration would be made before a priest while the basket was still on the pilgrim's shoulder. After the basket was presented to the priest, it was placed by the Altar and the pilgrim would bow and leave.
The celebration of the Bikkurim was one of appreciation. Although we no longer have the Beit Hamikdash, when reading this section in the Torah we must remind ourselves of the many things for which we should be thankful.
One of the worst traits a person can have is the lack of appreciation. In Parashat Ha’azinu the Torah notes that the beginning of the downfall of the Jewish people is when “Jeshurun grew fat and kicked”- in other words- when we did not recognize the fact that all good comes from Hashem!
May we all merit to see the good and to show our appreciation with the bringing of Bikkurim in the Beit Hamikdash.