Ki Savo: I Have Entered the Land
והיה כי תבוא אל הארץ אשר ד' אלקיך נתן לך נחלה וירשתה וישבת בה: ולקחת מראשית כל פרי האדמה אשר תביא מארצך אשר ד' אלקיך נתן לך ושמת בטנא והלכת אל המקום אשר יבחר ד' אלקיך לשכן שמו שם:
And it will be when you enter the land that Hashem gives you as an inheritance, and you posses it and dwell in it. And you shall take from the first fruits of the land that you reap from the land that Hashem gives you, place them in a basket, and go the place that Hashem has chosen to dwell there.
The Sifrei comments: Perform the mitzva of Bikkurim, for in its merit you will enter the land.
Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l asks an obvious question. How can the mitzvah of Bikkurim be the merit with which we enter the land -- if the mitzvah itself doesn’t begin until after we have already entered and settled it?
We can ask similarly about what we say while bringing the Bikkurim: “I declare this day to Hashem, for I have entered the land that Hashem has sworn to give to our forefathers”. Considering that the farmer saying these words might be a tenth generation native of Eretz Yisroel, it sounds like a strange statement. Did he just enter the land and purchase his field?
Rav Schwab offers a single beautiful answer to both questions. In the physical world, a location is just a geographical place on a map. Once one has entered a place, no further "entering" can happen for he is already there. Eretz Yisroel, however, is a spiritual place. Our main goal in possessing the holy land is gaining the ability to serve Hashem better and be closer to Him. "Entering the land" is a constant and ongoing process of trying to access more and more of the Kedusha and improving in our Avodas Hashem.
When we have the opportunity to bring the fruits of our labor to the Beis Hamikdash, we stand before Hashem and offer them to the Kohein. At that stage, we have truly reached a new level, and can declare "I have entered the land"!
May we too, continue growing in our Avodah, realizing greater heights, and entering higher levels!
Have a wonderful Shabbos