In every phenomenon the beginning remains always the most notable moment. — Thomas Carlyle
A farmer works hard tilling, planting, and tending to his crops, be it grain or fruit. He prays hard for rain. He looks up to the sky expectantly. When the blessed rain does come, he looks to the ground lovingly, hoping it will be enough. Then he waits. And waits some more. He will go out to his crops daily, searching anxiously for those first stalks, those first buds, that initial flowering of fruit that will demonstrate that all his hard work, all his prayers and worries weren’t for naught.
And then he finds it. His heart is filled with joy. He’s ecstatic. His efforts have borne fruit – literally. That initial sign of growth promises that all the rest will follow, but that first fruit carries a very special place in his heart.
Enters the Torah and tells the farmer, that that first fruit, that joyous sign of success and plenty, that promise of a full crop to come, that very first fruit, needs to be marked and then brought to God once it ripens.
The Chidushei HaRim on Deuteronomy 26:2 wonders why that’s so. Why is it that at the first signs of fruit, at the emotional apex of agrarian life, God is demanding specifically those fruits? He answers that there’s an incredible power to the beginning and first of anything. A person will attach themselves to that first occurrence with all their strength. God is asking that we redirect that powerful attachment to Him.
The Chidushei HaRim explains that the phenomenon of strong attachment to first things is not limited to agriculture, but that it pervades all aspects of life, and we should keep in mind the same divine request in our own lives. By dedicating the first minutes of our day, the first days of the year to God, we give a divine blessing and power to the rest of the day, the rest of the year and to all our efforts.
May we encounter fresh beginnings regularly and may they signify blessings for all that follows.
To the memory of Queen Elizabeth II. May her memory be a blessing. And to the success of King Charles III.