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    The Torah in Parashat
    Ki-Tabo presents the
    Misva of Bikkurim,
    which obligates a
    farmer to take the first
    fruits that ripen, bring them to the Bet
    Ha’mikdash, and give them to the Kohen.
    The unique importance of this Misva is
    expressed by an enigmatic comment of the
    Midrash regarding the very first words of the
    Torah – “Bereshit Bara Elokim” (literally,
    “In the beginning, G-d created…”). The
    Midrash interprets this phrase to mean
    that G-d created the world for certain
    things which are referred to as “Reshit”
    (“the first”). For example, the world was
    created for the sake of Torah study and
    observance, as the Torah is referred to as
    “Reshit” (“Hashem Kanani Reshit Darko”
    – Mishleh 8:22). Additionally, the Midrash
    remarks, the world was created for Am
    Yisrael, which are likewise called “Reshit”
    (“Reshit Tebuatoh” – Yirmiyahu 2:3).
    More surprisingly, the Midrash writes that
    the world was created for the sake of the
    Misva of Bikkurim, the first fruits, which
    are called “Reshit” (“Ve’lakahta Me’reshit
    Kol Peri Ha’adama” – Debarim 26:2).
    What is special about this Misva, and how

    does its unique quality relate to the word
    A profound answer to this question was
    offered by Rav Haim of Sanz (1793-
    1876), in his work Dibreh Haim. He
    notes the approach taken by the Ramban
    in interpreting the verse, “Bereshit Bara
    Elokim,” explaining that before the actual
    creation of the world, G-d created a certain
    force, the potential for creation. (The
    Ramban calls this force “Koah Hiyuli”).
    It was through this primal force that G-d
    then proceeded to create everything in the
    universe. Rav Haim of Sanz explains that
    we human beings, too, are endowed with
    this force, this potential for creativity. This
    force is the origin of our innate attraction
    to newness, and why we bore easily. A
    clear example is the frequency with which
    people today check their phones for new
    messages, new updates, and news flashes.
    In fact, the very word “news” with which
    the information industry refers to itself
    was chosen to appeal to this innate drive.
    We crave new information, new ideas, new
    experiences, and new achievements. This
    is because we are endowed with “Reshit”
    – with a force of potentiality, the power to
    create new things.

    This drive, like all human drives, is both
    critically important, and exceedingly
    dangerous. It is what motives people
    to build, to develop, to arrive at new
    inventions and new groundbreaking
    ideas. However, left unchecked, this
    drive can lead a person to the wrong
    places. In his search for newness, he will
    seek forbidden experiences, and come
    up with woefully misguided ideas. This
    is an especially vexing problem for our
    generation, when we all carry a limitless
    reservoir of information in our pockets.
    People searching for something new can
    find anything on the internet – including
    new content which they should never be
    The Misva of Bikkurim, Rav Haim of
    Sanz explains, represents the need to
    channel this innate creative drive toward
    the service of Hashem. After working very
    hard for months on end to produce fruit,
    the farmer finally sees the first ripened
    fruits, and craves them. But he is told not
    to eat them, and to instead reserve them for
    Hashem, so-to-speak, by bringing them to
    the Kohen in the Bet Ha’mikdash. This
    symbolizes the way we are to harness our
    power of “Reshit,” our drive to experience

    newness, toward meaningful, spiritual
    It is natural to grow bored and restless,
    and to seek something new. This is a drive
    which we all have, and which we are all
    supposed to have. We should never try to
    suppress it – because it is part of our very
    beings. Instead, we need to channel this
    drive the right way. We should always be
    seeking to expand our horizons within the
    realm of Torah and Misvot – initiating and
    participating in new programs, seeking
    new opportunities for learning, for Hesed,
    for community involvement, and so on.
    This is the message of Bikkurim – that
    we are to take the power force of “Reshit”
    which Hashem implanted within us and
    utilize it to improve ourselves and to
    contribute to the world.