Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Ki Savo

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In discussing the bringing of the bikkurim (first fruits) to the Beis Hamikdash, the Torah specifies in Devarim 26:4 that the Kohen took the basket (Hateneh) from the hands of the farmer and placed it on the mizbayach. R' Frand quoted a Malbim who noted that there were many receptacles that were used to capture and carry things in the Beis Hamikdash, but rarely does the Torah talk about the vessel. Yet here the Torah discusses the basket for bikkurim, when it could have just written that the Kohen took the bikkurim from the hands of the farmer.

The Malbim quotes the Sifri who explains that this is the source for the concept that different baskets were used for bringing the bikkurim. The Sifri discusses how the wealthy farmers brought their bikkurim on silver platters while the indigent farmers would use reed baskets. While the silver baskets were returned to the wealthy farmers, the Kohen would keep the reed baskets which were used by the less wealthy farmers.

The Malbim explains that Sifri knows this based on the fact that the basket is not mentioned in Ki Sissa or Mishpatim. In Ki Savo the Torah discusses the poor farmer and references the basket. This shows that the Kohen accepted the fruit with the basket, whereas the silver platter was returned to the farmer. The Malbim explains that the reason that the Kohen kept the basket and returned the silver platter, because the basket is important to the poor farmer. The poor farmer toiled to make the basket and it is thus infused with the same importance as the bikkurim. While the wealthy person paid a lot of money for the silver platter, it is not as important to him as the basket is to poor farmer.

R' Frand then told a story about when he was in kollel soon after getting married. As they were struggling to get by, they were unable to buy a fancy present for his mother in law's birthday. Instead, R' Frand's wife knitted a present for her mother and the mother was very appreciative, because it was the best they could do and it came from her own hands.

R' Frand then returned to the basket. A person can go to the silver store and buy any number of silver platters. On the other hand, this basket was created by the poor farmer because he needed it. Thus the basket takes on added importance and becomes a part of the offering.

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