Blog

161http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2013/08/RabbiLyonsBlog-08_23_2013
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 08_23_2013
08/22/2013 07:00 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
August 23, 2013

 

                With a car packed with family and luggage, you arrived at your vacation destination and probably shouted, “We made it!” Imagine then how the Israelites reacted when they reached the Promised Land after a long journey on foot. Now, they’re about to enter the Land. What will they say? This week in Torah, we read Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26) when the Israelites receive instructions about the day they’ll enter the Promised Land.

                Here’s the Torah’s first instruction, “When you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a heritage…you shall take some of the very first fruit of the soil, which you harvest from the land…put it in a basket…and go to the priest in charge and say to him, ‘I acknowledge this day before the Lord your God that I have entered the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to assign us.” Oddly enough, Torah doesn’t record the Israelites’ shouts for joy; not even an end-zone shuffle on the other side of the Jordan. Rather, Torah records that their first instruction was to give thanks to God, with offerings of their first fruits. Their second instruction was to recall the heritage of their ancestor, a fugitive Aramean, who went down to Egypt, and who, as a populous nation, was redeemed by God “by a mighty hand, by an outstretched arm and awesome power.” And, only then were they instructed to celebrate, “You shall enjoy all the bounty that the Lord your God has bestowed upon you and your household” (Deut. 26:11).

                The order of events is meaningful to us. The idea is that we reach literal or figurative destinations by virtue of strengths within and beyond us. To reach a physical destination should prompt us to give thanks, and if not God, then at least to the pilot, the driver or the captain. Giving thanks to God is appropriate, too; for, by virtue of the laws of physics that keep the plane aloft, and the good fortune that allowed us to arrive safely, in the absence of anything personal we contributed to the journey, some thanks are due. Only then should the joy of arriving be celebrated. It recalls pictures of immigrants to Israel bending low to the ground and kissing the earth. Without words, they expressed their gratitude to be in the Holy Land before they took another step into it.

                Other places we arrive at deserve our gratitude, too. A new insight, a new love, renewed healing or courage are all reasons to feel grateful for the process that delivered us to these new destinations in our life. Torah urges us to see them as gifts for which we should give thanks before we enjoy them. One way to give thanks is to share these blessings with others who are still seeking theirs. A donation in honor or memory of another person to a worthwhile organization, for example, has been a longstanding Jewish custom. It serves to extend blessings to others. I know that it’s much easier and perhaps more satisfying to enjoy the destination by yourself and those closest to you. But, Torah lets us know that we have more to do with what we’ve achieved. It is never time to celebrate until thanks are given and efforts to share joys are made.

                Take a moment and ask yourself, How will you give thanks to God? What are the first fruits of your success that you might offer? What part of your past or heritage provided you your good fortune? And, finally, how have you celebrated? May Shabbat also bring new reasons to give thanks for a day of rest and peace.

                Shabbat Shalom.

Blog Search

Categories

Archives

201806June2
June 2018 (2)
201805May3
May 2018 (3)
201804April4
April 2018 (4)
201803March5
March 2018 (5)
201802February4
February 2018 (4)
201801January4
January 2018 (4)
201712December4
December 2017 (4)
201711November2
November 2017 (2)
201710October2
October 2017 (2)
201708August3
August 2017 (3)
201707July4
July 2017 (4)
201706June4
June 2017 (4)
201705May2
May 2017 (2)
201704April3
April 2017 (3)
201703March4
March 2017 (4)
201702February3
February 2017 (3)
201701January3
January 2017 (3)
201612December4
December 2016 (4)
201611November3
November 2016 (3)
201610October3
October 2016 (3)
201609September4
September 2016 (4)
201608August2
August 2016 (2)
201607July5
July 2016 (5)
201606June2
June 2016 (2)
201605May3
May 2016 (3)
201604April4
April 2016 (4)
201603March3
March 2016 (3)
201602February2
February 2016 (2)
201601January4
January 2016 (4)
201512December4
December 2015 (4)
201511November3
November 2015 (3)
201510October2
October 2015 (2)
201509September2
September 2015 (2)
201508August4
August 2015 (4)
201507July5
July 2015 (5)
201506June4
June 2015 (4)
201505May2
May 2015 (2)
201504April5
April 2015 (5)
201503March3
March 2015 (3)
201502February4
February 2015 (4)
201501January4
January 2015 (4)
201412December3
December 2014 (3)
201411November3
November 2014 (3)
201410October4
October 2014 (4)
201409September2
September 2014 (2)
201408August3
August 2014 (3)
201407July3
July 2014 (3)
201406June3
June 2014 (3)
201405May3
May 2014 (3)
201404April4
April 2014 (4)
201403March3
March 2014 (3)
201402February4
February 2014 (4)
201401January5
January 2014 (5)
201312December3
December 2013 (3)
201311November3
November 2013 (3)
201310October4
October 2013 (4)
201309September2
September 2013 (2)
201308August5
August 2013 (5)
201307July4
July 2013 (4)
201306June4
June 2013 (4)
201305May5
May 2013 (5)
201304April4
April 2013 (4)
201303March4
March 2013 (4)
201302February4
February 2013 (4)
201301January5
January 2013 (5)
201212December4
December 2012 (4)
201211November5
November 2012 (5)
201210October4
October 2012 (4)
201209September2
September 2012 (2)
201208August5
August 2012 (5)
201207July4
July 2012 (4)
201206June3
June 2012 (3)
201205May5
May 2012 (5)
201204April4
April 2012 (4)
201203March5
March 2012 (5)
201202February4
February 2012 (4)
201201January4
January 2012 (4)
201112December5
December 2011 (5)
201111November3
November 2011 (3)
201110October3
October 2011 (3)
201109September4
September 2011 (4)
201108August4
August 2011 (4)
201107July3
July 2011 (3)
201106June4
June 2011 (4)
201105May4
May 2011 (4)
201104April4
April 2011 (4)
201103March5
March 2011 (5)
201102February4
February 2011 (4)
201101January4
January 2011 (4)
201012December5
December 2010 (5)
201011November4
November 2010 (4)
201010October5
October 2010 (5)
201009September2
September 2010 (2)
201008August2
August 2010 (2)
201006June3
June 2010 (3)
201005May5
May 2010 (5)
201004April3
April 2010 (3)
Captavi QixSuite™ - Hosted Marketing Automation Software ©