In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, Moses highlights how the Jewish People should build their relationship with G-d when they enter the land of Israel. A key element in relationship growth is showing gratitude for all that G-d has provided them. Moses demonstrates how to express gratitude by offering the first fruits of the land to G-d and encourages the people of Israel to do likewise. Moses foreshadows the day when the people will bring the first fruits to the Temple on the holiday of Shavuot, Pentecost; through this offering, the people will be blessed. Bringing the fruit to the temple shows the gratitude the people of Israel have for G-d bringing them to the promised land and sustaining them through the new produce.
What a joy to give blessings and to receive blessings. As we begin a new school year, we feel gratitude for all it took to come to this day. Moses concludes by telling the people that after 40 years of wandering the desert, they have attained “a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear.” We have also sustained a long wandering during these last couple years of COVID restrictions, virtual school and limited social interactions. Thinking about that and what this new year may bring, we should give and receive blessings and go through the new school year with an open heart, a keen eye, and a listening ear to give.