Thank you to my amazing sister-in-law Shira who is back from seminary and wrote up this beautiful dvar torah for this weeks parsha. I'm posting it here with her permission.
This weeks parsha, Parshas Ki Savo, has a lot to do with what's going on in our lives. Hashem commands us about bikkurim, that we have to bring the first of our produce to the Beis Hamidkash, so to speak "giving it back" to Hashem. But Hashem's no Indian giver. He's teaching us a huge lesson. Its like a reality check. Yeah, you may have plowed and sowed, and threshed and saddled up your cows BUT ITS NOT YOURS. Every single thing that we have in our lives down to your toes was given to you as a gift. Hashem gives us halachos to remember that nothing is ours. Everything is borrowed.
If you think about it, its unsettling. Your ego doesn't let you accept this. That all of your accomplishments, everything you ever bought with your own money, all of those shiny new seforim you have, we're all provided for you by Someone Else. Yeah, you did the hishtadlus. But at the end of the day its really all about Who enabled you to do everything you've done.
Many of us are dealing with making major decisions in our lives. We are figuring out where to go after seminary. We all have this drive to be successful, to make something of ourselves, to satisfy that need to feel accomplished. We're all worrying about similar things, trying to work things out on our own, asking for help, and davening our hearts out. We all need so much from Hashem.
When you bow in shemoneh esrei, when you recognize that really everything comes from G-d, its supposed to create a feeling of humility. When we bow, were laying that karbon on the mizbeach, putting those bikkurim before Hashem, showing Him that really its not me, its You. Hashem, You gave me this to use. Help me dedicate this, willfully, honestly, and wholeheartedly to You. Please provide for me what I need because really, I can't do this myself. Its all You.
So often in our lives, we daven for things and they come to us. Hashem continuously shows us how much He loves us, and we continuously forget how we felt when we davened so hard for something and we got it. Because now we have it, and now we want more stuff. I don't know, maybe its just me, but I think its a common problem. Being human, we forget the intense feeling of relief and happiness that we felt when our prayers were answered. We forget how grateful we felt, and how close we were to Hashem at that moment, when we felt the intensity of His love and care for us. When we're going through something really difficult, its really hard to feel that love. Our hearts rebel as we let frustration and hurt take over us, and we allow negative thoughts to seep in, our yetzer hara in disguise. Hashem gives, Hashem takes, and Hashem gives again. All out of love. Don't think but this time its different. Even when everything is going wrong, hold on to that foundation of faith that you built throughout your life and make it rock solid. Remember how Hashem saved you, and gave to you, and worked things out for you, and keep reminding yourself over and over of every single thing. Look back at every good memory. And cry. It really works.