G‑d told the Jewish people that when they would enter the Land of Israel and plant fruit trees, they must not eat the fruit that any newly-planted tree produces during the first three years of its growth. The fruit that the tree produces during its fourth year is to be considered “holy,” which in this context means that it must be taken to the Tabernacle (or its successor, the holy Temple) in order to be eaten in the surrounding area (or city). Only the fruit of the fifth year and on can be eaten freely.
Infusing Holiness into Life
לְהוֹסִיף לָכֶם תְּבוּאָתוֹ וגו': (ויקרא יט:כה)
[G‑d instructed the Jewish people to refrain from eating the fruit of their trees for the first three years, and to treat its fourth-year fruit as holy] “in order that it increase its produce for you.” Leviticus 19:25

Surprisingly, G‑d tells us that the purpose of observing these restrictions on eating the fruit from a tree during its first four years is for the sake of the fifth year and beyond. Shouldn’t the focus of this process be the holiness of the fourth year, rather than the mundaneness of the fifth year and beyond?

The answer is that holiness per se is not the goal of life; the goal is to fill the mundane with holiness, for only thus can we make all facets of life into G‑d’s home, thereby fulfilling the purpose of creation. When we take the fruit of the fifth and following years, which is not intrinsically holy, and make use of it for holy purposes, we are accomplishing precisely that. This is especially true when we recognize that the bountiful blessings of the fifth year come to us as a direct result of our having heeded G‑d’s instructions regarding the fruit of the preceding four years.1