Friday, August 27, 2021

connection between bikurim and the 13 midos ha'rachamim

Fascinating Meshech Chochma points out that there are 13 times that the shem Havaya is mentioned in the parsha of bikurim, and he suggests that these correspond to the 13 midos ha'rachamim which Ashkenazim will start saying in slichos this motzei shabbos.  Interestingly, in Ki Tisa, the very last pasuk of the aliya in which the midos are mentioned is  רֵאשִׁ֗ית בִּכּוּרֵי֙ אַדְמָ֣תְךָ֔ תָּבִ֕יא בֵּ֖ית ה׳ אלקיך.  

Here are his words:

בפ׳ בכורים נזכר י״ג פעמים שם הוי׳, לנגד שלשה עשר מדות של רחמנים, ובפרשה דויעבור ה׳ על פניו ויקרא כו׳ הי״ג מדות הזהיר על ראשית בכורי כו׳ תביא בית ה׳ כו׳. ודו״ק.

The root of sin is to be kafuy tovah.  The 13 midos are all about recognizing the chasdei Hashem, that he is rachum v'chanun, and without that we are nothing.  Bikurim is the same idea -- to be makir tovah to Hashem for bringing us into Eretz Yisrael and giving us its peiros. 


  1. I always wondered, we are told to emulate the middos of Hashem. We are told that במדה שאדם מודד בו מודדים לו, that Hashem acts toward us as we act toward others. This makes me dizzy. How does Hashem act towards us? As we act towards others. How should we act towards others? As Hashem acts towards us. If we are creating God, God is not creating us, right?
    But you said that the 13 that we are supposed to emulate is "recognizing the chasdei Hashem, that he is rachum v'chanun, and without that we are nothing." That is an intellectual awareness, not our actions. I wonder if that is going to help.

  2. If this were on social media, I'd just give it a heart emoji.

    Thank you, and have a great Shabbos!

  3. In one of the earliest references to saying LeDavid during this season (at least, it's decades before Chemdas Yamim), the author of the Shem Tov Qatan suggests the reason is because it contains 13 sheimos.