Parshas Ki Savo #1
“And it will be when you come to the land which Hashem your G-d gave you as an inheritance, and you take possession of it and dwell in it. You will take the first of all the fruits of the earth which you will bring from the land which Hashem your G-d gave you, and you will put [them] in a basket, and you will go to the place where Hashem your God chose to rest His Name. And you will go to the Kohen who will be in those days, and you will say to him, ‘I declare today to Hashem your G-d that I came to the land which Hashem swore to our fathers [that He would] give to us.’ And the Kohen will take the basket from your hand and place it before the Altar of Hashem your G-d” (Devarim 26:1-4).
Moshe Rabbeinu instructed the Jewish people about a special mitzvah which they would fulfill when they settled in Eretz Yisrael. The first ripe fruits of seven specific varieties would be set aside, placed in a basket, and brought by the owner to the Beis HaMikdash, to be given to the Kohen. Bikkurim, as the first fruits were known, were brought from wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. Chazal describe the loving care lavished by the owners on beautifying this mitzvah, and their joyous trip to Jerusalem to give their precious first fruits to the Kohen (Bikkurim 3).
A Basketful of Mitzvos
The Tzror HaMor (Devarim 7) cites the Zohar, which draws a parallel between bringing Bikkurim to the Kohen in the Beis HaMikdash, and the “basket” of mitzvos we bring with us to the World to Come. Based on the words of the pessukim, the Zohar provides a glimpse into how our mitzvos are welcomed in Heaven.
“And it will be when you come to the land which Hashem your G-d gave you” is a reference to the World to Come, the land of eternal life. We should not come there empty-handed – we should be bringing along the “fruits” we were sent to this world to produce: our lifetime of Torah, mitzvos, and belief in Hashem. When a righteous soul arrives with its “basket” of Torah and mitzvos in the next world, “the place where Hashem your G-d chose to rest His Name,” Michael, the Heavenly Kohen Gadol, takes it and presents it before Hashem’s Altar in Heaven. The contents of that basket are our true accomplishments in this world, and they will last forever.
Question for Discussion:
We have a lifetime to fill up the “basket of mitzvos” that we will each present in Heaven after our hundred and twenty years in this world. Which mitzvah would you like to see in a prominent place in your “basket,” and why?Click Here To Respond
Moshe Marmerstein from New York: For a number of reasons I would choose quality tefillah, something I work on now and hope to continue working on in the future. Like Bikkurim, davening is an expression of gratitude to Hashem for all He gives us. Through davening we have a relationship with Hashem, and can request not only our own needs, but those of the Jewish people as a whole. For those interested in working on their davening, I recommend Rav Shimshon Pincus’s She’arim B’Tefillah (also available in English translation under the title “Gates of Prayer”).
My wife Miryam: Hachnassas orchim – welcoming guests. I am often up until 2:00 a.m. or even 3:00 a.m. on Thursday nights, preparing Shabbos meals for our family and up to twenty guests. The enormous amount of work that goes into every Shabbos meal is a labor of love. I sincerely believe that the more positive I am about the mitzvah, the better the food tastes, and I put much love and good kavanos intoevery ingredient and every dish. It would be easy to become resentful and start thinking, “I can’t bear to look at even one more onion,” or “How many more carrots do I have to peel?” But that would have a negative impact on my cooking… Instead, I remember to be grateful that I can welcome others into my home, can buy the food to serve them, and have my ovens to cook in.
Our twelve-year-old daughter hopes for a basketful of Kibbud Av V’Em (honoring parents) – and “Kibbud siblings.” Why these two? “Because they are very difficult mitzvos, and the greater the difficulty, the greater the reward.”