"And when you will come into the land that G‑d gave to you as an inheritance, and you will settle upon it, you shall take from the first fruits of the Land that G‑d has given you, put them in a basket and bring them to the place where G‑d has chosen His presence to dwell." (Deut. 26:1-2)

Rashi quoting the Talmud (Menachot 84b), explains the mitzvah:

"From the first fruits, but not from every first fruit. The mitzvah of the First Fruits [in Hebrew, Bikurim] is done only with the Seven Holy Species native to Israel, which represent the special bounty of Eretz Yisrael: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates."

"Wisdom built her house, and she hewed out her seven pillars." (Proverbs 9:1) The commentators remark that this is an allusion to the seven days of Creation, the foundation of the world. Everything in the world came into being during those days. The seven species correspond to the seven middot

These seven pillars also refer to the seven middot, which are foundations of the world (chesed, gevura, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod, malchut), as it is written, "G‑d, Yours is the greatness [gedula, meaning chesed], the might [gevura], the beauty [tiferet], the splendor [netzach] and the majesty [hod]". (Chronicles I 29:12)

The spiritual work of a Jew in this world is to realize these middot fully and raise them up to their source. For instance, when one feels inspired to do chesed, or feels love for a friend or object, one should transpose that emotion into love for G‑d. When one experiences fear due to a circumstance or incident, one should transpose that fear into awe of the great name of G‑d, and reflect on how He rules the world, and that there is no place void of His presence. When one is struck by the awesome beauty of some object or the raw beauty and symmetry of nature, he should reflect that this beauty is a reflection of G‑d Himself and that the only true beauty is His.

Our article on the First Fruits alludes to this concept. The First Fruits came only from the first fruits of the Seven Species. The seven species correspond to the seven middot, which in turn correspond to the seven days of Creation and foundation of the world. The Torah wants the First Fruits to come from the first fruits of the Seven Species of "the land" (in Hebrew, "artzecho") - which refers to the physical and material realm. Therefore, one takes all of his physical, mundane aspects from each and every midda, brings them before G‑d, and consecrates them to His service, as it is written, "Bring the first fruits of your land to G‑d your G‑d." (Ex. 23:19)

[First published in B'Ohel Hatzadikim, Ki Tavo 5759, vol. 3, p.66]