Giving G-d a Tip
It was in the middle of one hectic workday. The business executive received a message from his secretary that a woman wanted to meet with him regarding an important matter. Not one to miss out on potentially valuable opportunities, the man agreed, and the secretary scheduled an appointment for an hour on the following day.
At the appointed time, there was a knock on the office door. The executive rose to open it, and came face to face with… his wife. “I’ve been telling you we need to talk one of these days,” she smiled, “but you always say you have no time.”
Many of us live rather busy lives, filled with many stresses and responsibilities. Unfortunately, as we struggle to keep up with our numerous commitments – first and foremost, at work – we may neglect those that are most important to us. We say, “I’ll spend time with my family; during the holidays; in the summer. We’ll go on vacation sometime. Meanwhile, I’m too busy with important things.”
Sometimes, we need to be reminded that there is nothing more important than building relationships with our loved ones. Let us not take them for granted; let us appreciate them and give them the time they deserve.
In this week’s Parsha, we are commanded to bring Bikkurim, the first fruits of the seasonal harvest, as a gift to G-d. At the culmination of months of toil – plowing, reaping, and sowing – a farmer recognizes that he owes a debt of gratitude to the Creator for His role in the successful harvest. Before allowing himself to enjoy the fruits of his labor, he is enjoined to set aside time, gather the first of his crop and bring them to Jerusalem to say, “Thank you, G-d.”
We may live in high-rise complexes in crowded urban areas, and buy our produce from supermarkets, but we are still like that traditional farmer. We work hard and are gratified by the success we see. Our work and other responsibilities consume our every waking moment, and we may forget that there is Someone to Whom we owe thanks for the blessings in our lives.
And so we, too, must bring Bikkurim – gifts of our time and resources – to express our gratitude to G-d. But what does G-d want? What could He want, anyway?
Well, imagine a drummer bought his wife a drum set for a birthday gift. Did I say gift? Well, yes, you could call that a gift – for himself, perhaps. Obviously, giving what one would like to receive personally is not much of an expression of love, caring or gratitude. It’s about the other person.
So what gesture could be meaningful to the Master of the World? Hmm… We have to think about that one. But we do know one thing for sure – it must be on His terms.
Find some time for what’s really important in life: make space for G-d. And when you do, stop and think, “What would He appreciate?”
Rabbi Mendy Wolf is the educational director for the Institute of American & Talmudic Law, and the director for Project Life, an organization which promotes Jewish values throughout the business community in NYC. R’ Mendy is a sought after teacher and lecturer and resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and family. Contact Rabbi Mendy to book him to speak or with feedback at email@example.com.