After entering the land and harvesting its produce, Bnei Yisroel are given the Mitzvah of Bikurim –bringing the first fruits to the Mishkan or Beis Hamikdash and offering them to Hashem.  In a detailed description, our Parsha tells us of the meaningful words to be spoken at the time of the offering.  (Ki Savo, 22:5)  Lavan and Pharaoh tried to destroy us and caused us great suffering, but Hashem took us out with great power and brought us to this beautiful land which now provides us with such delicacies.  Then, in what appears to be a gesture of gratitude, we are to lay the produce before Hashem and bow down.  This simple yet beautiful display of appreciation is then followed with another directive: “You shall be happy with all the good which Hashem your G-D has given to you and to your house….” [1]

Why this directive?  Isn’t the whole reason we are bringing these fruits because we are grateful?  Do we really need another directive?  Perhaps a famous contemporary Mashal will help us understand this seeming superfluity.   A man is late for a doctor’s appointment in downtown Manhattan.  He knows that if he is late, he will not be seen.  As he navigates through traffic and enters the city he begins pleading out loud to Hashem, “Oh Hashem, just please let me find a parking spot right away and I will…” You get the picture.  He continues pleading over and over until he arrives at the hospital and behold, right next door he sees a perfect spot at which time he says, “never mind Hashem, I found one”.  This is not the reaction of some terrible person; rather it reflects how often we assume our good fortune is due to Teva/nature and not from Hashem’s kindness.

The Torah often warns us of our own failings.  Indeed, it tries to keep us from falling into the traps which are part of our nature.[2]  Too often, we daven our best T’fillos during times of strife and desperation and are more blasé when the situation improves Where is our Kavanah when things are good?  Parshas Ki Savo reminds us that we must be grateful for the good that comes to us every day.  Hashem need not provide challenges for us to properly appreciate His generosity. 

In these final days of Elul, we all need to strengthen our T’fillos.  They should not be limited to stock words and phrases written by our Chachamim and sprinkled with personal requests.  Hashem has given each of us so many things to be thankful for on a daily basis, even every second.  We are commanded to “be happy” with what Hashem has given us.  When we stop and take a look around at all of our Brachos and realize from where they come, that really should be a no brainer.

[1] This is one of several places in the Torah where we are told that “Simcha” is an integral part of the Mitzvos.  See, the Tochacha later in Ki Savo, (28:47) where we are told that the Klalos befall us not because we did not keep the Mitzvos, but because we did not keep the Mitzvos B’Simcha.

[2] See; Eikev, where Hashem warns us not to think “Kochi V’Otzem Yadi” and B’tzidkas Heviani Hashem Loreshes Haaretz”