In addition to the portion of produce that is to be gifted to the Kohen, we are commanded to take a part off of every batch of dough that we prepare in our homes.
Just as the threshing floor shows us the abundance with which
By separating this terumah or challah, the owner gives homage to
There is no minimum quantity stated for the portion separated. The obligation may be satisfied (according to the Torah) with even the tiniest piece of dough or a single kernel from the whole pile. (There is, however, a rabbinic minimum requirement.) On the other hand, there is a maximum limit for both. Both are termed reishit, meaning the beginning of, or the first portion of. This would not remain a true description unless a considerable amount remains. Hence, our Rabbis taught that if one declares his whole barn to be terumah, or the whole of his dough to be challah, his declaration is invalid and has no effect.
This teaches an important lesson: No one may consider the Kohen’s relation to the Torah to be a substitute for his own. He should not view the Kohen’s existence as worthy and his own existence as insignificant. Instead, he is to understand that blessing preserves his own existence — and that existence is dedicated to
- Sources: Commentary, Bamidbar 15:20