Parsha Mitzvot: Shofetim: Mitzvah 497 – Concept 275
“The first of your grain, wine, and oil, and the first of your shearing of your flock shall you give him.” (Deuteronomy 18:4) We are commanded to give the first shearing of sheep to a Kohen. (Rambam, Hilchot Bikkurim – The
Laws of the First Fruits and Other Kohanic Gifts)
We offer clothing material, wool, as an acknowledgement that even if the Kohanim are not productive of material goods for the people’s lives, the people are nevertheless under an obligation to the Kohanim for its faithful activity and influence.
It is also an admonition for due regard to be had for making provision for the external civil appearance of the Kohanim in the ordinary life of the people.
Rabbi Samson R. Hirsch
We can apply this Mitzvah as a concept by focusing on our charitable contributions as an expression of appreciation of the influence synagogues and schools have on our lives. An implication would be to direct our funds to those institutions that have a positive spiritual influence.
Another application is the importance of the “external, civil appearance,” of those who serve as spiritual guides.