Jew holding Israeli flag in land of Israel
Jew holding Israeli flag in land of IsraelFlash 90
Our Parasha opens with the commandment of ביכורים: the first-fruits from the land of Israel, saying:(26:1-11)’והיה:

It will be when you enter the Land that Hashem, your G-d has given you as an inheritance, that you shall take of the first of every fruit.. from your Land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you’ and bring it to the Kohen, saying to him:’הגדתי היום: I declare today to Hashem, your G-d, that I have come to the Land that Hashem swore to our forefathers to give us’. The Kohen takes it, and places it before the Altar; the bringer then continues with his Declaration, relating the descent to Egypt, our affliction there, and, finally, the redemption by Hashem, who has ‘brought us to this place, and given us this Land’, and ‘now..I have brought the first fruit of the ground that You have given me, Hashem’.

The Midrash Sifri, on the opening words of our Parasha - ‘It will be when you enter the Land’ - comments:’Perform the Mitzvah mentioned, because in its merit, you shall enter the Land.’

The Torah Temima expounds on this Sifri:’In other Mitzvot of this kind, it only says: כי תבוא:‘When you come’, and not ויהי: ‘It will be’, and therefore our Sages expounded these words, as if they give the reason for you entering the Land - מפני מה: for what reason will you enter the Land? Because you are destined to perform the Mitzvah of offering the first-fruits.’

The words ‘are destined to bring’, are necessary to resolve a literal difficulty in the Sifri.

As the Chatam Sofer points out:’Since the Mitzvah to bring the first-fruits is to be performed only after the settlement of the Land, how can it be a condition to entering the Land?

‘The answer requires resolving another literal difficulty: How can it be, that in the Birkat Hamazon, we thank Hashem for giving to our forefathers a goodly Land AND for redeeming us from Egypt?

‘Should not the order be reversed: first, the redemption from Egypt, and only after that, the gift of the Land?

‘No! Because even in their exile in Egypt, and throughout the travels of our people from place to place, their thoughts, and hearts, were always of the Land, as if it was already theirs.

‘This is the true meaning of the Sifri:’It will be when you come to the Land that Hashem gives you’, this Land, in your eyes, even before you enter it, shall be the Land that Hashem HAS given you - and, in this merit, you SHALL inherit the Land.’

The declaration by the bringer of the bikurim, as we have brought, states that:’I have come to the Land that Hashem swore to our forefathers to give to us’.

This promise was first made by Hashem to Avraham Avinu, in the ‘covenant of the thirteen’, in Parashat Lech Lecha, Hashem promising:(17:8)’And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojourns - the whole of the land of Canaan - as an everlasting possession.’

This promise was repeated, when Hashem informed Moshe Rabbeinu, that He had heard the cries of Bnei Israel, from their affliction by the Egyptians, and that He had come to redeem them, with ‘the four redemptions’: ( Va’Eira 6:6-7)’I shall take you out, I shall redeem you, I shall rescue you, I shall take you to Me for a people, and I shall be a G-d to you, and you shall know that I am Hashem your G-d, Who takes you out from the burdens of Egypt’- in ‘memory’ of which four redemptions, we drink the four cups of wine, at the seder.

But what of the fifth redemption promised, in that very same passage? (6:8)’I shall bring you to the land about which I raised My hand to give it to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and I shall give it to you as a heritage’?

Answers the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh:’This is difficult! Were those who were redeemed from Egypt enter the Land? This was not the case, as that whole generation perished in the desert.

‘However, the Infinite Wisdom did, in fact, address this matter, in conditioning the entry to the Land on ‘you shall know that I am Hashem, your G-d’ - BUT, if you continue to anger Hashem, you will not merit to see the fulfillment of this.

‘This is why, this ‘condition’ is written at the end of the first four redemptions, and before the promise to ‘bring you to the land’, to separate the matters.

The person bringing the bikurim, in his declaration in our Parasha, thanks Hashem, for now fulfilling this fifth redemption, as, as Rashi comments, he is thereby declaring: I am not an ingrate.

We are now able to enrich our souls, with the beautiful drasha of Rav Aryeh Leib Heyman, on these lofty matters.

The Rav first notes, that our Sages allude to a link between the two ‘Haggadot’: the declaration of the bringer of the bikurim, who states הגדתי היום לה׳ אלקיך - and the Haggadah of Pesach. Comments the Rav:’It is not by coincidence that our Rabbis refer to both as הגדה, and that both focus on the redemption from Egypt.

‘However, there is a major difference in the narratives: the Haggadah of Pesach concludes with the redemption from Egypt, while the declaration of the bringer of the bikurim continues, to relate the entry into the Land.

‘On Pesach we related at great length, the four redemptions promised in Parashat Va’yera; in our Parasha, we continue, and relate the fulfillment of the fifth redemption - bringing us to the Land, as the person declares to the Kohen:’I have come to the Land that Hashem swore to our forefathers to give to us’.

‘This is why the bringer of the bikurim, specifically states: הגדתי היום: I declare TODAY.. that I have come to the Land..- unlike ANOTHER day that I did not declare this: the seder night, in which I could not relate this.’

Concludes the Rav:’In the covenant of ‘thirteen’, Hashem promised Avraham two things:First:(Lech Lecha 17:7)’To be a G-d to you and your offspring after you’, AND second: (17:8) the gift of the Land.

‘The Haggadah of Pesach relates the fulfillment of the first promise; the הגדה in our Parasha, relates the fulfillment of the second promise - together, they relate the fulfillment of all five redemptions, promised to Moshe Rabbeinu.’

The Darchei Noam asks:’What is the special connection, between the redemption from Egypt anf the offering of the bikurim, both being ‘linked’ in the declaration, in our Parasha?’.

He answers:’The suffering in Egypt was part of the price we had to pay to merit the gift of the Land, as our Sages state:(Brachot 5:)’Three goodly gifts did Hashem give to Bnei Israel, and all three only through affliction, and one of them was the Land of Israel.

‘The person bringing the bikurim, by his declaration, is saying: all of the affliction we suffered till we merited to enter the Land, was worthwhile as the price for the gift of the Land; indeed, the great price paid, made the Land even more precious in our eyes!’

A parting insight, from the Darchei Noam: ‘The person bringing the bikurim, opens his declaration, with the words:’I declare TODAY.. that I have come to the Land that Hashem swore to our forefathers to give us’ - and yet, he likely was born in it, as were his parents!

‘However, he is thereby declaring that , in his eyes, it is truly as if he only TODAY received this wondrous gift, not merely as an inheritance, but as if given anew TO HIM each and every day that he is privileged, to be in it.’

לרפואת נועם עליזה בת זהבה רבקה ונחום אלימלך רפאל בן זהבה רבקה, בתוך שאר חולי עמנו.

Danny Ginsbourg is a retired lawyer and Torah scholar who made aliya from Australia a decade ago. He has written five volumes of Torah thoughts in Hebrew,and was awarded the Jerusalem Prize.for the two volume Davsha shel Torah to which there are already several sequels.