Giving or Taking? by Tzvi Atkin


At the beginning of this week’s Parsha, the Torah discusses the commandment of bringing Bikkurim, the first fruits, up to the Beit HaMikdash.  The Torah tells us,  “VeLakachta MeiReishit Kol Peri HaAdamah Aasher Tavee MeiArtzecha Asher Hashem Elokecha Notein Lach,” “And you shall take from the first of every fruit of the ground that you bring in from your land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you.”  Why does the Torah use the words “and you shall take” instead of “and you shall give”?

The Nachal Kedumim answers that the Torah’s word usage can be compared to the discussion of “Adam Chashuv” (prominent individual) in Masechet Kiddushin (7a).  The Gemara says that if a man is very distinguished, he can betroth a woman just by accepting a present from her, because the fact that he, an important person, accepts her gift triggers enough benefit to effect Kiddushin. It is as if he is giving her a present rather than the reverse.  The Nachal Kedumim says that the same concept appears regarding the bringing of the Bikkurim.  At first glance, it seems as though we are giving the Bikkurim to Hashem as a present.  However, in reality, Hashem is the one giving while we are the ones taking.  Hashem is giving us the extraordinary opportunity to take our fruits and bring them before him, the greatest and most Supreme Being in the entire universe. 

The lesson that the Torah is teaching us is that we have to realize when doing them that they aren’t just commandments to be performed by rote. Quite the contrary, they are special opportunities that are meant for us to become closer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu and should be done with joy and love.  Hopefully, we will be able to instill this aspect of doing Mitzvot within ourselves in the Month of Elul as we approach Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and thereby merit a Ketivah VaChatimah Tovah. 

Down the Line by Rabbi Josh Kahn

Satisfying Offering by Tzvi Zuckier