Parashat Shelach

By Rabbi Shlomo Zargari:

רֵאשִׁית֙ עֲרִסֹ֣תֵכֶ֔ם חַלָּ֖ה תָּרִ֣ימוּ תְרוּמָ֑ה כִּתְרוּמַ֣ת גֹּ֔רֶן כֵּ֖ן תָּרִ֥ימוּ אֹתָֽהּ׃

“The first of your kneading, you should set aside a loaf as a portion…” (Bamidbar 15,20)

Shalom, in our parasha, after the episode of the spies and its outcome, we are introduced to a few misvot. One of the commandments is the misva of separating a piece of dough as we knead to bake bread. We then give that piece to a kohen. (Unfortunately, nowadays we can’t perform this misva fully so we burn a piece.)

Rabenu Ovadia Seforno asked, “Why were we commanded this after the sin of the spies?” He explained that before the sin, the presence of the Shechina was with us and brought blessings onto everything, as the verse in Tehilim (115,12) says: ה׳ זכרנו יבר״,” meaning HaShem is mindful of us and blesses us. Sadly, the transgression created a separation and a barrier between us and the Almighty.

כִּ֤י אִם־עֲוֺנֹֽתֵיכֶם֙ הָי֣וּ מַבְדִּלִ֔ים בֵּינֵכֶ֕ם לְבֵ֖ין אֱלֹֽקיכֶ֑ם וְחַטֹּֽאותֵיכֶ֗ם הִסְתִּ֧ירוּ
פָנִ֛ים מִכֶּ֖ם מִשְּׁמֽוֹעַ׃

“But your transgressions have been a barrier between you and your HaShem; your sins have made Him turn His face away and refuse to hear you.” (Yeshaya 59,2)

Therefore, there’s no beracha in anything. Now there’s a need to bring sanctity through acts of misvot to bring back the berachot to the home and crops. This is what the prophet Yehezkel (44:30) writes:

וְרֵאשִׁית֩ כָּל־בִּכּ֨וּרֵי כֹ֜ל וְכָל־תְּר֣וּמַת כֹּ֗ל מִכֹּל֙ תְּרוּמ֣וֹתֵיכֶ֔ם לַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים יִֽהְיֶ֑ה וְרֵאשִׁ֤ית עֲרִסֽוֹתֵיכֶם֙ תִּתְּנ֣וּ לַכֹּהֵ֔ן לְהָנִ֥יחַ בְּרָכָ֖ה אֶל־בֵּיתֶֽךָ׃

“All the choice first fruits of every kind and all the gifts of every kind — of all your contributions — shall go to the kohanim. You shall further give the first of the yield of your baking to the kohen, that a blessing may rest upon your home.”

May we all have the blessings of the misvot in our homes, AMEN.

Shabbat Shalom