Vol 14.13 - Tavo 1 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Chumash|
The portion Savo opens with the commandment of Bikurim , the first fruit offering. During the offering ceremony, the person bringing the fruit would say:1 “An Aramean Lavan tried to destroy my father Yaakov… he descended to Egypt… G‑d brought us out from Egypt with a mighty hand … He brought us to this area… I am now bringing the first fruit of the land that G‑d has given me.”
Ostensibly, the reason for mentioning G‑d’s rescue of Yaakov from Lavan’s clutches and the miracle of the Exodus was to thank G‑d for His many kindnesses,2 these kindnesses culminating in His giving the Jews “this land flowing with milk and honey.”3
However, if the purpose were merely to enumerate G‑d’s many acts of goodness toward the former slaves, why not also mention His splitting of the sea, His providing them with manna, and the many other things that enabled the Jews to survive in the desert for 40 years?
We must conclude that the saving of Yaakov from Lavan and the extrication of the Jewish people from Egypt are singularly connected to the commandment of Bikurim. What is the connection?
The obligation to bring Bikurim only began after the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael and settled the Land, as our Sages note4 that the mitzvah of Bikurim only began after the 14 years during which Eretz Yisrael was conquered and divided among the tribes.
We thus discern that the bringing of Bikurim served not only to offer thanks for the actual gift of Eretz Yisrael , but more importantly for the fact that the Jewish people were now settled there in a permanent manner, for only then did they experience the true joy of being residents in their own land, fully enjoying the fruits thereof.
In order to emphasize this, the person bringing Bikurim was to remember those permanent places of residence in which our ancestors found things going so badly that they were faced with extinction. Thus, Aram and Egypt are particularly noted, for it was there that our ancestors lived on a permanent basis — 20 years in Aram and 210 years in Egypt — and were faced with extinction.
This also explains why the declaration recited while bringing Bikurim focuses more on the Jewish experience in Egypt and the subsequent Exodus than on Yaakov’s experience with Lavan, for it was specifically in Egypt — not in Aram — that the Jewish people found themselves for so many generations.
On a deeper level, the answer as to why only these two events are mentioned in the Bikurim recitation is as follows:
Chassidus explains5 that a tree’s fruit is analogous to the soul clothed within a body. The command of Bikurim involves uniting the soul as it is found below with its source Above, this being known as Supernal Bikurim.
More specifically, the offering of Bikurim entails the elevation of the lower level to the higher one, while the recitation of the verses that accompany the Bikurim offering alludes to the drawing down of G‑dliness from Above, i.e., the soul’s source Above illuminates and unites with the soul below.
Both Lavan and Egypt are thus mentioned during the Bikurim recitation, for both entailed a spiritual descent, inasmuch as Yaakov’s descent to Lavan as well as the Jews’ descent to Egypt (and thereafter G‑d’s descent into Egypt to liberate them) are perfect examples of a higher level descending to a lower one.
There is a lesson here for all of us: A person should not be content with merely serving G‑d through his own elevation by Torah and prayer. Rather, he must also draw down G‑dliness into the world, even unto the choicest matters therein — just as Bikurim was brought from the choicest of fruit6 — thereby transforming physical reality into a vessel for G‑dliness.
Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XIV, pp. 93-98.
Gutnick Chumash pp. 93ff
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