Ki Tavo: How we perform good deeds makes all the difference
In Parshat Ki Tavo, we are told how a farmer would bring his bikkurim, his first fruits, to the temple. There he would make a declaration (Devarim 26:10):
“V’atah hinei heveiti,” he would say, “And now, behold, I have brought these first fruits.
The Midrash points out that these three words all appear to be redundant.
- V’atah, and now – well obviously it was then.
- Hinei, behold – well yes of course!
- Heveiti, I have brought – well who else has brought?
The Midrash explains that there were three ways in which the farmers would enhance this mitzvah, and we learn them from these words.
- ‘V’atah’ – and now – according to the Midrash means ‘miyad’ – immediately.
- ‘Hinei’- behold – means ‘besimcha’ – with joy.
- ‘Heveiti’ – I have brought – means ‘misheli’ – from my own.
So first of all, this was a mitzvah which was performed immediately. It was never put off. Secondly, it was carried out besimcha, with a lot of joy and enthusiasm. And thirdly, it was brought misheli, that is to say, the farmer would give it his all, showing that really he wanted to perform this precept.
I believe that what applied then to the bringing of bikkurim should apply to the performance of all the mitzvot that we carry out. First of all, miyad – let’s not put off an opportunity to perform a good deed. Let’s do it right now, and then tomorrow we’ll have an opportunity to perform others. Secondly, let’s perform good deeds besimcha, with joy and enthusiasm, always thanking God for the privilege of being able to enhance our lives and the lives of others through carrying out the mitzvot. And thirdly it needs to be misheli, not because somebody’s imposing this upon me, but actually I’m giving it my all. And if we carry out our mitzvot in these three ways, we can enhance all of the mitzvot that we perform immeasurably.
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