This week’s Torah portion begins with a commandment Jews had when they would get to the land of Israel.
The land of Israel way back when had an economy based on agriculture. You plowed, you planted, you watered and weeded… and then, success, you reaped.
With so much work put in to get the results, it might be very common to think man’s efforts paid off… and discount the G-d factor. Therefore, to keep us grounded, the first fruits, that first flush of success, came with a commandment to keep us focused. We took the first fruits, our darling crop’s first signs of flourishing, and we offer that up in Yerushalayim. We don’t just do that. The process calls for us to reflect and actually verbally recount our history. We did not make ourselves or our successes. G-d freed us, led us, shielded us, fought our battles for us. That realization leads to the next verse:
[verse 11] “v’samachta – you will then be happy with all the good that G-d gave you”.
Recipe for happiness — look at how far you’ve come, see the fruits of your efforts, understand G-d is watching out for you, share your bounty with those who don’t have as much as you… and you will find happiness, my friend, guaranteed.