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This week’s Torah portion, Tavo, begins with the commandment to give our first-fruits to Hashem; “And it will be when you come to the land which Hashem gives you for an inheritance, and you possess it and settle in it, (then) you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground which you will bring from your land … You shall put them in a basket and go to the place which G-d will choose to have His Name dwell there (meaning the Bais Hamikdosh in Jerusalem).”
Rashi cites the words, “And it will be … and you possess it and settle in it.” He says that “This teaches us that they were not obligated to bring first-fruits until they conquered the Land and divided it.”
After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Jews finally entered Israel. It then took seven years to conquer the land, and an additional seven years to divide the land. Rashi is explaining that these verses teach us that the Mitzvah of bringing first–fruits did not take effect until the end of these 14 years.
This is a matter of debate between the Sages. One opinion is that the expression “and it will be” always implies that which occurs immediately. Hence, there was a requirement to bring first-fruits directly upon entering the land. The second opinion that of Rashi, that the Mitzvah would not apply until the land was conquered and divided.
We know that even when there is a disagreement as to what the existing law requires, both opinions are valid. Therefore, we can learn a lesson from each opinion in our service of Hashem.
By bringing first-fruits, we thank Hashem for His kindness. We give Him the first, the choicest of our fruits. Additionally, we verbally declare our gratitude for all of the kindness which He has performed for us.
We thank Hashem, as the words “it shall be” imply, immediately. Immediately upon arising from sleep, one thanks G-d for restoring his soul. These thanks do not stem from intellectual contemplation; instead, it is a result of the natural love of Hashem, which is implanted within each Jew.
We must also thank Hashem by bringing the first-fruits after the land is conquered and divided. This is the gratitude that we express to G-d during the morning prayers. We first contemplate His greatness and intellectually understand before Whom we stand to the best of our ability. At that point, our gratitude is with a great depth of recognition.
May we all appreciate the great miracles which Hashem performs for each of us, and express the appropriate thanks.
I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a sweet new year!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 34, Page 150-152
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס
. Our Parshah, Devorim 26:1-2.
. See the Midrash Sifri on this verse.
. See Talmud Kiddushin 37, b.
. See Talmud Eiruvin 13, b.