Rejoicing With the Lord
By Avi Lazerson
In this week's Torah portion, we are instructed to bring from our first fruits of each year's harvest to the holy Temple in Jerusalem. There we are to give the first fruits to the priest, the Kohen, and we are told that we "..shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord, your God, has given to you."
The concept here is a very profound meaning.
We are used to giving. We are told that giving is a very noble and pure characteristic to implant in a person. Yet here, we are not told to rejoice that we may give to God, but because of the good that He has given us. For what reason must we give to God in order that we may come to rejoice with the good that He has given us? If the purpose of our rejoicing is the recognition of the bountiful good that we have received, would it not be better to measure the abundance that we have received? The more that we posses, the more we have to thank and rejoice! So why give?
The answer is that we are not merely rejoicing in the vast abundance that we have received. Our rejoicing is three fold.
One, yes, we are very happy that we have received a harvest that has brought us wealth and sustanence. That is the first step is our happiness. With out meeting the minimum needs and expectations, it would be difficult to be happy. But our happiness is not to be restricted to the rejoicing over our physical bounty.
Step two is in our giving. When a person becomes a giver, his heart expands to rejoice also with others. His happiness is not merely a satisfaction that he has material substance, but rather a more altruistic and spiritual happiness. He is now happy in that he has made another happy. He is a concerned being. When he has helped someone else realize their needs, he rejoices with them.
Yet, in this case, the happiness process does not end here.
The third step is to rejoice with God. We are not merely rejoicing from our getting and our ability to give. We are rejoicing with the giver of our blessings. We have found a venue to be together with God, in His house, the holy Temple, and there our happiness takes on a totally spiritual dimension. We rejoice together with God in that God rejoices with us.
May it be His will that the Temple be rebuilt speedily in our livetime.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom!