By Rav Micha Golshevsky
This parshah begins with the mitzvah to bring the first fruits to Yerushalayim and recite some special verses of thanks to Hashem.
The Heichal Habrochah explains that the first fruits are the product of long and painstaking effort, and they embody the task of sanctifying the mundane endeavors of this world. To do that properly, we have to be deeply aware that no two actions are the same, no two moments are the same. For every day is completely new and fresh, and new light and connection to Hashem is waiting to be discovered every day. The mitzvos of today are completely different from tomorrow’s mitzvos. No tefillah is exactly like another. But it is almost impossible to achieve this level of awareness without the Beis Hamikdash. Certain individuals do achieve such levels, and the Sages said about such people: “Whoever has holy awareness, it is as if the Beis Hamikdash was built in his days.”
Once, when Rav Tzvi Hirsch of Ziditchov was a young man, he spent the whole day doing business with non-Jews. When his day was through, he went to daven Minchah, and prayed with tremendous exuberance. It almost seemed as though his every limb was on fire, and anyone could see that he was full of a great longing for his Creator. Praying with such devotion usually takes a lot of preparation, so his older brother thought that perhaps his fervor was less than genuine.
He asked his younger brother after the prayers, “Where did you get such a davening from without spending any time preparing?
Rav Tzvi answered, “When you go out to the field, or a little village, and there is no Jew for miles around… If you can maintain holy thoughts, you raise up all the holy sparks in the stones, the trees, the animals, in everything growing and living in the whole area. What could be a greater preparation for davening than that?”