In the merit of which mitzvah will Yisrael enter Eretz Yisrael immediately?
(26,1) “And it will be, when you come in to the land which Hashem, your G-d, gives you for an inheritance, and you will possess it and dwell therein.”
It says in the Yalkut Shimoni that the expression “And it will be” always implies immediacy, and here it teaches that if you do the mitzvah which is under discussion you will be rewarded with entry into the land. This Midrash is astonishing - the mitzvah being discussed here is the bringing of the first fruits, but how is it possible to bring the first fruits before they enter the land?! But it seems to me that the Midrash is referring to the end of last week’s parsha, where it writes “remember what Amalek did to you” and therefore do the mitzvah to “wipe out the remembrance of Amalek”, and concludes “you shall not forget”.
But it is possible that Klal Yisrael will think that the main part of the mitzvah is that which is written “it will be, when Hashem, your G-d grants you respite from all your enemies around you in the land…”, then “you shall wipe out the remembrance of Amalek”, and if so, there is no need to begin to remember until close to the time when it will be fitting to fight against him. But right now they have not yet even entered Eretz Yisrael, so what benefit is there to begin remembering immediately?
Therefore our posuk comes to teach us that this is not so, but rather “and it will be” - you should immediately do the mitzvah under discussion, which is the mitzvah of remembering Amalek. And as a reward you will enter the land immediately, since your intention in inheriting the land is not for your benefit, but rather for the sake of Hashem’s honor, in order that you will be able to fulfill His command to wipe out the offspring of Amalek. Because “one who comes to purify himself is helped”, and so you will merit to enter the land immediately.
With this we can understand that which is written further on in the Yalkut, “and you will possess it and dwell therein” - you will possess, you will conquer and you will dwell. Now, it is true that the land is ours as an inheritance from our forefathers, but it was for both Ya’akov and Eisav. However, because Eisav did not conduct himself with Ya’akov as a brother, but on the contrary, (Amos 1,11) “he pursued his brother with the sword and cast off his mercy”, he lost his rights as a brother and he has no portion in the land. But this is only if we observe the command of Hashem and remember for His sake that which Amalek did, then Hashem will reciprocate and remember what Eisav did to Ya’akov, causing him to lose his portion, which we will inherit instead. But if we do not remember what Amalek did to us, then also Hashem will not remember what Eisav did, and so he will receive a portion in the land and it will not be completely ours.
This is the intention of the Yalkut - “and it will be”, if you do immediately all that is discussed in the matter of remembering Amalek, then you will merit to enter the land, and then you will inherit it and dwell therein, including the portion of Eisav. You will conquer it and dwell therein because it is ours. But if you do not remember the deeds of Amalek, then you will not inherit his portion, because Amalek will inherit Eisav, and so you will not conquer it and dwell therein.
How can we bring such a lowly gift of fruit to Hashem?
(26,5) “And you shall call out and say before Hashem, your G-d, “An Aramean sought to destroy my forefather, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there…And the Egyptians treated us cruelly and afflicted us, and they imposed hard labor upon us…And Hashem brought us out from Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, with great awe, and with signs and wonders. And He brought us to this place, and He gave us this land…And now, behold I have brought the first of the fruit of the ground…”
We need to understand the need for all these preliminary words, and the connection between the exodus from Egypt and the bringing of the first fruits. Also problematic are the concluding words “and now, behold, I have brought the first fruit of the ground which you, Hashem, have given to me”. Why does he need to explain from which land he is bringing - everything is revealed and known before Hashem.
But we can explain all this with a parable. If an ordinary person wants to give a gift to the king, then the gift needs to be important and fitting to bring to the king. But if it is a lowly, inferior gift, it would certainly be a disgrace to offer it to the king. However, if it would happen that the king owes him a large debt, and when he comes to pay him the king takes some such lowly things to repay his debt, then the person is permitted afterwards to take from these things and bring them as a gift to the king. The king would not be able to argue that they are lowly things, because the man would be able to answer that if so, how could the king have used them to pay his large debt.
The analogy is that bringing fruit as a gift to Hashem does not make any sense, because what kind of gift is this compared to the greatness of Hashem. Therefore, one has to excuse and explain the bringing of such a gift. And that is, because an Aramean sought to destroy my father and he went down to Egypt and subsequently they remained there in servitude and great distress. And if you will argue that because of our lowly level, our servitude was not considered to be very significant, and so it was sufficient for Hashem to repay us for our suffering with a small payment, this is not so, because “Hashem took us out with a strong hand…”, and performed many wonders. This proves that our level was very high there and we were very important to Hashem.
Therefore, our servitude was worth a very large amount according to our great value. And yet You gave to us this place, a land flowing with milk and honey, and You paid with this Your great debt of our servitude in Egypt. If so, this proves that this land is very important in the eyes of Hashem. Therefore, I have acted correspondingly, and I have brought the first of the fruit of the land which You gave to me - since You gave it to me it proves that Eretz Yisrael is important before You, and therefore I am bringing to You a great gift from it.
With this we can understand the reason why a convert does not read these posukim when he brings the first fruits, because he is not able to say “the land which You gave to me”, and so he cannot argue that there is any greatness to the lowly fruit that he brings.
If we must leave the merit of our good deeds for our offspring, how will we ourselves survive?
(28,11) “And Hashem will cause you to remain for the good in the fruit of your body and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your land, on the land which Hashem swore to your forefathers to give to you. Hashem will open up for you His good treasury - the heaven, to give the rain of your land in its time, and to bless all the work of your hands.”
It seems to me that the posuk can be explained according to the Midrash on parshas Bechukosai, which says that the posuk “And I will remember my covenant, Ya’akov (Vayikra 26: 42)” can be explained by the posuk “from hand to hand the evil will not be cleansed (Mishlei 11:21)” - one who does a mitzvah and wishes to take his reward immediately is called evil, because he leaves nothing for his children. So too, if the our forefathers had sought to take the reward of the mitzvos which they did in this world, from where would their offspring have the merit that they need to protect them?
According to this, if one does a mitzvah he should not take the reward for himself, but should leave it for his children who come after him. But if so, what will a person have for himself, how will he survive? The answer is that he will survive from that which Hashem gives him from His own pocket, so to speak. not as a reward but as a free gift.
This is what the posuk is saying: “Hashem will cause you to remain for the good in the fruit of your body”, that is, your reward will remain with you for the good in the fruit of your body, benefiting your offspring with your merit. But for you yourself “Hashem will open for you His good treasury” - He will open His own treasury in order to give you a free gift.