Torah Portion: Mishpatim
The choicest first fruit of your land shall you bring to the House of Hashem, your God (Shemos 23:19).
It is a positive commandment to bring one’s Bikurim (the choicest of first fruit) to the Holy Temple. “Bikurim” refers to the first fruit that ripens on the tree, which we are obligated to bring it there and give it to a Kohen. By Torah law this applies only to the Seven Species for which the Land of Israel is praised: Wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates — as it is written, The choicest first fruit of your land shall you bring to the House of Hashem, your God (Shemos 23:19).
Among the roots of the mitzvah is the aim that we put the Word of Hashem ahead of all our personal joys, and that we remember and internalize that it is from Him that we receive all the blessings in the world. We were therefore commanded to bring the first fruits that ripen to the kohanim, who are the attendants of His House. Then, through this remembrance, acceptance of His rule, and this giving thanks of ours, we will become worthy of blessing, and our produce will be blessed.
The laws of the commandment include: Those who live near Jerusalem would bring the fruit fresh, as is, while those who lived further away would dry them first and then bring them dried. The person is not to bring the species mixed together but decoratively arranged, such as that he would place leaves in the basket between each species and he would surround the figs with clusters of grapes. In addition, the person also brings doves and turtle-doves in honor of the Bikkurim and gives them to the kohanim.
This mitzvah applies when the Holy Temple stands, to men; it applies to fruit of the Land of Israel, Syria and trans-Jordan, but not to fruits from abroad.