This week, in parasha Ki Savo, the Torah instructs us about the mitzvah of Bikurim, the First Fruits. Each year after entering the Land of Israel, each family is to bring some of the first of its harvest to the kohen at the Temple. The First Fruits come only from the seven special foods associated with the Land – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. The offering is a symbol that everything we have is to be dedicated to God’s service, in thanks for God having given us everything we have.
So in return for getting everything we have, how much do we have to offer as thanks? The Mishnah (Peah 1:1) teaches that there is no minimum amount required in offering the Bikurim. The requirement is that the offering must be from the First Fruits, not that it has to be a lot of the First Fruits.
The importance of the Bikurim being the first of the harvest relates to the idea that the first of anything holds special importance. First is new to us. We are excited to experience it. First shows us that our efforts to create something have been successful. So we recall that God has blessed us by being our partner in creation, and we thank God for this gift.
This is a great lesson as we start the new year soon.
When we experience new things, we should recognize that God has brought us to these events. If they are enjoyable – make a new friend, learn a new game, get a new book – it will be easy to thank God for them.
If they are difficult – meet someone who is sick, study a hard subject, have someone do something mean to us – we have an opportunity to think about what value we can get out of the experience and that we should be thankful for it thought that may be hard. Perhaps we have learned a lesson, or grown stronger, or worked together with a friend to get through a problem.
Maybe the new experience will give us an opportunity to do a Good Turn. Remember, no minimum amount required.