This weeks Parsha, פרשת כי תבוא, starts with מקרא ביכורים. What is this מקרא ביכורים? A man who is growing fruits has to bring his first fruit to the Temple and eat them there. When he brings the fruit that man has to say a certain t’fila and this is the מקרא ביכורים.
What are the contents of this מקרא ביכורים ? What is the context of this T’fila?
In this t’fila the man who brings the Bikurim tell a short version of the main events in the history of Am Yisrael, until they got to Eretz – Yisrael, and how as a result of that, he is standing there with his own crop in front of ה’.
The question we have to ask ourselves is why the Torah finds it so important to recall the history of Am – Yisrael in this T’filah? We can ask this also in a different way: “What is the relevance of the past to the future?”
There is a parable of The Chofetz Chaim which I like very much. It’s about this man who had to get from a certain town to another. He was walking for hours and it was cold and rainy. At some point he reached an intersection and there he had a problem. At the middle of this intersection there used to be a sign which showed which town is in every direction, but because of the rain and the wind the sign fell down and was lying there on the ground. The poor man didn’t know which way to go so he sat there in the rain waiting for someone to come so he could ask him.
He was sitting there and just when he lost any hope to find his way he saw this little boy who was running home. The man decided to ask this boy so he stood up and asked him: “Do you know the way to this city”. The little boy stopped running, looked at him and said “no”. Now the man was really desperate. He was alone, it was almost dark and he didn’t know the way to go.
The little boy stood there for a minute and then said: “I don’t know where the town you are looking for is, but if you will tell me where you came from and the name of that town, I will be able to show you the way.”
The miserable man didn’t understand what the boy wanted from him, but he told him anyhow.
The little boy went to the middle of the intersection, picked up the sign and held it in a way that the name of the town that the man said he had come from pointed to the path the man had taken to get to where they were. Then the boy said: “Now that I know where you came from, I can hold the sign the right way and that way you can know what direction is the town you are looking for”.
The moral of this parable is very simple. A lot of people are lost in life and they don’t know what way they should go . They get to some intersection in their life and they are looking for help in order to know what way to choose.
But the truth is that in order to know which way to go they need only look into their past and history and then it will be clear to them what is the right way to continue.
Some people don’t remember and other don’t want to remember where they came from. The torah tells us: look at the past, confront it, and that way you would know your way in life.