Introduction to Firsts (Reishit)

Jews thank God for His blessings by giving Him the “first” (reishit) of various products (as well as a tenth/ma'aser of agricultural and other wealth). 
“First” applies to:
  • First-Born/Petter Rechem
    • First-born male children/petter rechem (redeemed with money; see Introduction to Pidyon HaBein).
    • First-born male kosher domestic animals (calf, lamb, kid)/petter rechem (in Temple times: sacrificed on altar; now, permanent holy status--see Selling Mother Animal before Birth of Petter Rechem.
    • First-born male donkeys/petter rechem chamor (redeemed with sheep/goat; holiness of both the donkey and the sheep or goat then disappears).
  • Dough/Challa
In Temple times, given to cohen; now, see When To Separate Challa (Hafrashat Challa).
  • First Fruits/Bikurim
In Temple times, the Jew (man or woman) brought the bikurim fruits to the area between altar and Temple building; only the man said the
  • First Shearing/Reishit HaGeiz
Portion of sheep's wool (reishit ha'geiz) (given to cohen).
Note All of the above have holy status except for the wool and the human petter rechem.
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