Are you the spontaneous or the organized type? - Ki Tavo

Thursday, 3 September, 2020 - 9:24 am

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Which type of character are you? Spontaneous or organized?

Which help is more valuable? The spontaneous help when we see someone in trouble while walking in the street and stop to help him? Or the scheduled help when we plan to devote time especially for helping?

Which “Thank you” is more special, the spontaneous “Thank you” with the shining eyes immediately after receiving something, or the organized “Thank you” with details, a letter and a small gift?

In this week’s Parasha Ki Tavo, we read about the Bikurim. When the fruits grow and our heart fills up with joy and gratitude, we remember to Whom we owe all this goodness and we bring the first fruits to Jerusalem, to G-d. Those first fruits are called Bikurim, which comes from the Hebrew word Bechor, firstborn. This Mitzvah is performed only with fruits from the land of Israel and only when the Temple existed. But the spiritual message of the Bikurim apply to every time and every place.  

The process of conquering and dividing the Land of Israel among the Jews took 14 years. Our Sages disagree as to when the Mitzvah of Bikurim started to apply: from the moment they entered the land of Israel and started to enjoy its fruits, or only after the conquest was finished and each tribe was installed in its portion of land? When should we say “Thank you”? Spontaneously and immediately, or scheduled and organized?

Every day, we have two kind of “Thank you” for G-d. One is a spontaneous, as soon as we wake up. Before getting out of bed, before we even start to think and prepare, we say “Mode Ani”, a sentence of spontaneous thanks to G-d for giving us life for another day.

Later, after waking up completely, getting dressed and organized, comes the prayer. During the time of prayer, we meditate more about the greatness of G-d and how much He provides for us. The “Thank you” of the prayer comes from our entire being, with all our heart.

Which “Thank you” is more important? Each one has a quality that the other doesn’t have. On the one hand, the spontaneity, which comes from deep inside us, doesn’t include thoughts and feelings and it is not certain that it will later influence our actions. On the other hand, the organized “Thank you”, which is indeed less spontaneous and immediate, but has an effect on all our personality.

Ultimately, we need both kinds of “Thank you”. Which kind of “Thank you” speaks to you more? The more spontaneous ones should try to say Mode Ani every day of the coming week as they wake up. The more organized ones should say “Shema Israel” after having mediated on G-d and His kindness to us.

Shabbat Shalom,


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