Joy is perhaps one of the most sought-after necessities in our generation. It, too, finds its full revelation specifically in the light of the collective, national life-force. This is because simcha, joy, is synonymous with the Shechinah, the mystery of our collective “mother”, as the verse states, “The mother of the children shall rejoice.” (Tehillim 113:9), and in order for a person’s heart to be filled with joy he  must first experience an elevated sense of inspiration.[1] Therefore, it is only with the establishment of the Beis HaMikdash and the appearance of a collective soul within the unified body of am Yisrael that true and complete simcha is possible. “When Hashem returns the returnees of Tzion, we shall be like dreamers. Then, our mouths will fill with laughter and our tongues with song.” (Tehillim 126:1-2) “The captives of Hashem shall return and come to Tzion with song, and eternal joy will be upon their heads.” (Yeshayahu 35:10) This is what it is said, “Hakitzu – arise, veranenu – and sing!”

If we contemplate well upon the parsha of the declaration regarding Bikkurim, we can see this demonstrated clearly. The Torah commands a person to take the first fruits of his field and to bring it up to the Beis HaMikdash. Upon arriving there, he stands with his fruits and delivers an entire speech, beginning with Yaakov Avinu, “Armenian destroyed my father” – continuing on to the servitude of Egypt, “and they perpetrated evil against us in Mitzrayim” – from there, he speaks about the exodus, “and Hashem took us out from there” – and finally addressing our settling in the Land, “and He brought us to this place.” In conclusion, he then says, “and now, I have brought the first of my fruits of the land which Hashem gave to me.”

The Torah commands a person to look upon each fruit that grows in his garden as a link in one long chain, a chain which begins with Yaakov Avinu thousands of years ago, and culminates in the fig that he picked in his courtyard. This is in order to help a person realize that the true import of this date becomes clarified specifically in the context of a broad, historical perspective.

This parsha in the Torah is the cornerstone of our entire relationship with the space of our personal, physical, and, certainly, spiritual lives. Our houses, property, and acquisitions here in Eretz Yisrael are not reflective of personal success. They are, rather, the fulfillment of a thousand-year-old dream. Whoever looks upon the true and complete picture will find that his individual life becomes saturated with meaning and, naturally, a true sense of joy, as this parsha continues, “and you shall rejoice in all the good that Hashem has given to you, your household, yourself, the Levi, and the sojourner in your midst.”

When a Jew looks upon the fig he has picked in the context of his own personal life, its value is extremely minimal. However, if he looks upon it with this broad perspective, with the lens of parshas habikkurim, this fig is a part of the dream that has become fulfilled, the dream that strengthened the hunched backs of our forefathers throughout the course of thousands of years. How great is the joy of a person who looks upon the meaning of his life in this way!

You can see it for yourself. Walk out into the streets of Yerushalayim and you will see, with your own eyes, elderly men and women sitting upon the benches. With your own ears, you will hear little boys and girls playing in the streets. This refreshing vision should expand a person’s heart! For we have merited to see, with our physical eyes, the fulfillment of the navi Zechariah’s prophecy: “So said Hashem Tzevakos, ‘Elderly men and women will yet sit in the streets of Yerushalayim, each man holding a cane because of old age. And the streets of the city will be filled with girls and boys playing in her streets.” (Zechariah 8:4-5) Then, in the place of a small-minded consciousness which hears nothing more than children making noise, grumbling over the disturbance, a great joy will fill the rooms of one’s heart, for Hashem has returned the returnees of His nation.

From this view, “the real estate crisis” can be put into the proper perspective – the fulfillment of a prophecy: “For so said Hashem Tzevakos, God of the Jewish nation: ‘Houses, fields, and vineyards shall yet be purchased in this land.” (Yermiyahu 32:17) The soul will then naturally be able to distinguish between true inspiration toward rectifying the situation and useless complaining that results from an inability to see the good of Hashem in the Land of life.

[1] See also “Sichas Avodas Reishis HaShana.”

Rav Reuven Sasson
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