Amidst these sweaty, stressful last days of summer, I invite you to close your eyes for a minute and try to envision yourself on the last Erev Rosh Hashanah. Remember the thoughts, dreams, prayers, and perspectives that ushered you into the new year. Did your visions for yourself and the world come to fruition over the past year? Do you recognize the hopeful, faithful person who stood in prayer?
We forget so fast. We move on so quickly. We are so deeply, fully human. That is why Parshat Ki Tavo always shows up right before Rosh Hashanah, to bring us back before we move forward. This week’s parsha begins with the commandment of bikkurim – of bringing our first fruits as an offering before the priest in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem:
“וְלָקַחְתָּ מֵרֵאשִׁית כָּל-פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר תָּבִיא מֵאַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ–וְשַׂמְתָּ בַטֶּנֶא; וְהָלַכְתָּ, אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם, אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם.
“You shall take from the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you shall bring in from your land that the LORD your God has given you; and you shall put it in a basket and you shall go to the place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there.”(Devarim 26:2)
These verses draw us to go back to the beginning, to the first fruits we picked in the early moments of this year. Do you remember what you thought about yourself, how beautiful you believed you could be? Can you recall the hopes you held in your heart for the state of the world, for the fate of your loved ones?
It’s not too late to actualize our visions from last Rosh Hashanah, to bring those first thoughts and dreams before our Father in Heaven who has been waiting patiently all year to help us become our best selves.