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The First Fruits

At the end of Parshat Korach, we read about the gifts that the Kohanim receive as a reward for their service.

In Bamidbar 18:13, God tells Aharon the Kohen:

The first fruits of everything that is in their Land, which they bring to God shall be yours, every pure person in your household may eat it.

We have already seen the mitzvah of Bikurim (the first fruits) before in Parshat Mishpatim, Shmot 23:19:

The beginning of the first fruits of your Land must be brought to the house of Hashem, your God…

Rashi explains the procedure for setting aside Bikurim:

A man who enters his field sees a fig that has ripened. He ties a reed around it to identify it and thereby designates it as Bikurim. Bikurim need to be brought only from the Shivat HaMinim, the Seven Species with which Eretz Yisrael is praised (Dvarim 8:8): “A Land of wheat, barley, grape, fig and pomegranate; A Land of olive oil and (date) honey.”

Sefer HaChinuch 91 explains the reason for the mitzvah of Bikurim, bringing the first fruits to the Beit HaMikdash (Temple):

At the root of this mitzvah lies the purpose to set the thought of God above our rejoicing and happiness that we should remember and know that from Him all the blessings in the world reach us. For this reason we were commanded to bring the ministering servants of His house the first of the fruit that ripens on the trees. Out of this remembrance, this acceptance of His kingship, and our avowal in thanks before Him that the fruits and other goodness come from Him, we will become worthy of blessing, and our produce will be blessed.

May we merit the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash and may we once again have the opportunity to bring the Bikurim to Yerushalayim.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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