This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, contains the mitzvah of bikurim, first fruits. The bikurim had to be of the finest fruits that were produced in the land of Israel, the first to mature in a particular season, and they were brought to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem before their owner was permitted to enjoy the rest of his bounty. By bringing the bikurim, a person expressed his thanks to G-d for His blessings. Unlike other offerings that were burned on the altar, the first fruits were given to the kohen (priest) for his own consumption.
We must always remember that all abundance comes from G-d. Our crops yield fruit not because of our merit or because of our labours, but solely due to G-d’s blessing.
The farmer invests a great deal of effort before seeing results. He must plough the earth, sow his seeds, and carefully nurture his saplings. Yet, when all these labours are done, he takes those fruits and elevates them to the realm of holiness. The farmer knows that it is G-d’s blessing which causes the tree to bear fruit. Accordingly, the very best of his produce rightly belongs to Him.
The bikurim, having been elevated, are given to the kohen to be eaten as part of his Divine service.
From this, we learn that a Jew must serve G-d not only when he prays or learns Torah. A Jew serves G-d throughout the day, even when engaged in as mundane an activity as eating! True, such service involves a great deal of preparation, but the reward is commensurate with the effort.
The principle behind the mitzvah of bikurim may be applied even today when the Jewish people are in exile. This is true even outside the land of Israel and even on a regular weekday!
We do so by acknowledging that all our wealth and possessions come directly from G-d and by utilizing all that G-d has blessed us with for holy purposes. In this manner, the Jew can turn even the simplest object into a medium for holiness. When we thank G-d for everything He gives us, all of our actions are transformed into a Divine service.
In the times of the Holy Temple, a blessing was recited when the bikurim were brought asking G-d to allow us to joyfully perform the same mitzvah the following year. Likewise, whenever we utilize G-d’s gifts according to His dictates, it brings down Divine blessing so that in the future, too, we will merit to enjoy them with gladness and rejoicing. Moshiach NOW!!!