The enchanting smell of the blossoming orchard accompanied Eliezer the farmer as he walked slowly up and down the rows of trees. He inspected the blossoms for signs of first fruit, and finally found them in the third row, on the fifth tree. Small pale green figs were bobbing in the slight breeze. Eliezer dug into his pocket, pulled out a red band, and tied it around the fruit. “Wonderful!” he exclaimed. “Now I’ll have no trouble finding and picking those figs when they are ripe. Then I’ll be able to take them to Yerushalayim.”

Eliezer was preparing to fulfill the mitzvah of bikkurim. He will bring those first fruits to the kohen in the Beis HaMikdash.

Let’s picture ourselves in Eliezer’s shoes. We are farmers, working very hard from early morning till sundown in our fields. We toil through hot summer weather and chilly rainy seasons. We dig, plow, plant, weed, water, trim, and tend to our crop. Sometimes, harsh weather causes our harvest to fail. Other times, animals nibble at our tender plants. You can imagine how happy we are when the first fruits finally grow. Like Eliezer, we are eager to pick them and to bring them home to our families or to sell them in the market.

But the Torah commands us to bring the first fruits to the kohen even before we enjoy it ourselves. Doesn’t that seem hard? How would you feel about giving away something new before you had a chance to enjoy it?

But when a farmer remembers that everything he has comes from HaShem, it’s not so hard. As he brings his first fruits to the Beis HaMikdash, he realizes that it was only HaShem who made them grow and that everything in this world belongs to Him.

In the Beis HaMikdash, the bikkurim are not burned on the mizbeach like other korbonos. Instead, they are eaten by the kohanim. Yet, HaShem considers the eating of these fruits by the kohanim to be as special and as holy as the sacrifices which are offered on the mizbeach.

The Torah calls us “a nation of kohanim. ” When we live our lives in a holy way, like the kohanim, then everything we do, even eating our food, can be just as holy as davening and learning Torah.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, Parshas Ki Savo)