August 15, 2018 ~ Shabbat SHOFETIM. Maqam AJAM.

Shabbat Ki Tabo

Fruits of Your Labor

ושמחת בכל הטוב - Every year right before "Finals" at the Yeshivah of Flatbush, our principal, Rabbi William Altshul, used to say: "Take a moment to think where you were a few months ago. You have all worked hard to get to this point, and now is the time for you to reap the fruits of your labor. As it says [Psalms 126:5] "Those who toil with planting will have joy in the harvest" (הזרעים בדמעה ברנה יקצרו). After each final was over, riots of celebration would fill the halls of the building as tremendous baggage was suddenly lifted from the students' shoulders. I can imagine that such was the atmosphere of joy and relief as the Israelites completed the harvest and presented their "first fruits" to the Temple. It was at this very ceremony where everyone, regardless of status, would reflect on their collective past (ארמי אבד אבי), celebrate the accomplishments of the present (ושמחת בכל הטוב), and anticipate divine generosity in the future. Beth Torah Bulletin, September 9, 2017.