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In this week’s Parsha, Ki Tavo, we are given the text that the person bringing bikkurim, the first fruit, must recite. Read this recitation in Chapter 26 verses 3-10 and you will notice that it is a short history lesson. Why is this moment of offering first fruits, of all times, an appropriate time to be recounting history: how we got to Eretz Canaan and what we’ve been through as a people?

Hint: think about what the goal of this mitzvah is? Why do we bring first fruits to the Beit HaMikdash (the Temple)?

One answer is that since this is a moment of Hakarat HaTov – recognizing the good we receive from God – one needs to really get into that feeling of gratitude. Remember where we were as a nation just a few generations ago – slaves in Israel! And now look at us!

Whom do we have to thank for this change and transformation and abundance? God!

It is usually in times of wealth and joy that people forget about God. It’s in times of trouble that we all realize that we need Him, but here we are commanded to remember God when times are good, and the harvest is being collected, and there’s a chance we might forget the source of these blessings.

What are other occasions in our lives that people might be so caught up in their good fortune that they forget to thank God? What mitzvot do we have that train us to remember God and thank Him in those times?