Back to Main Page

Diving In

By: Mrs Michal Porat-Zibman

This weeks Parsha, Ki Tavo, opens up with the commandment to bring "Bikkurim". The Mitzvah was to bring the first of the fruits from your garden, field and vineyard, to the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim.

I once heard Rabbi Ian Pear, the Rav of the Shir Chadash shul in Katamon, speak about this Mitzvah and I think of it often, especially as the parsha falls out around the beginning of the New Year. He makes an interesting observation on the story of the Bikkurim. He wonders would it have been more fitting perhaps, to bring the most beautiful, the ripest fruits to the Beit HaMikdash, as opposed to the first fruits, which might not be as beautiful. Wouldn’t the Torah require of such a special ceremony like Aliyah l’regel and arriving at the holiest city, Yerushalayim, that we bring our fruits that have blossomed when the time is right? What if the first fruits aren’t the most beautiful ones? Because usually, they aren’t.

Rabbi Pear gives a beautiful answer. He says that the story of Bikkurim is symbolic of our own personal avodat Hashem. If we always wait till the time is right, till conditions are better, till we get more 'settled' in whatever we’re doing, we might never really get into our avodah. Rather, Bikkurim teaches us, that when it comes to your personal avodah, your personal Bikkurim, you have to throw yourself right into it. You need to start off your year religiously motivated, ready to strengthen you’re a vodat Hashem and your Avodah bein Adam LChaveiro. If you begin strong, you have a much higher chance at succeeding.

You are all beginning a new year...circumstances may not seem ideal to invest proper time in tefillah, or learning a little bit every day. Perhaps you’re overwhelmed by the starting of a new academic year, a new position, or a new job. Perhaps you’re starting the new year in the same place or position you were in previously, and it might strange and unnatural to introduce more passion and motivation in a routine that you’re already comfortable with.

But don’t wait till conditions are perfect...they might never be. Authentic avodat Hashem is about finding the time and energy, no matter what else is going on around you. Let the message of the Bikkurim, about getting a jumpstart, about bringing your first fruits, about diving head in to your avodah, serve to inspire all of us as we begin our new year in our respective locations.

It is said in the name of the Rebbe of Prsyzcha (19th cen., Poland) that he used to ask how the mitzvah of Bikkurim is relevant to us today. He would answer, that even though we cannot physically bring our first fruits to the Beit HaMikdash, the concept can still very much be integrated into our lives. He recommended that we set aside time in the beginning of every day, however much time one can afford, for avodat Hashem, and by doing that we are investing in the first moments of the day, and dedicating them to a loftier goal. Such is but one suggestion as to how to keep the idea of Bikkurim alive within us today.

As we near the middle point of the month of Elul, let us be encouraged by this idea, and remind ourselves that G-d desires our avodah, our service, even if it’s not at the perfected stage.

May you be blessed with health and happiness for you, your families, your friends, and your communities. May you actively embrace your religious life and not passively wait for things to be just right...for circumstances to change....May you only grow from the many challenges you are confronted with, May you be blessed with the strength and desire to passionately bring your own form of Bikkurim.

Shabbat Shalom.






Back to top