“You shall come before the kohein who will serve during those days and you will say to him, “I declare today to Hashem, your G-d, that I have come to the land that Hashem swore to our forefathers to give us.” 26:3
- Before The Kohein Who Will Serve During Those Days – These words teach us that this obligation extends only to a time when there is a functioning Kohein Gadol [High Priest.] – Ibn Ezra - Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra (1093-1167)
- The Kohein Who Will Serve During Those Days – And you may not wait until a relative is installed as Kohen Gadol so that your gifts can go to him instead. – Chizkuni - Rabbi Chizkiyah ben Manoach Chizkuni circa 1250
- Before The Kohein Who Will Serve During Those Days – You have no one except the kohein who serves during your time, as he is – Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki)
Rashi points out that we may not refuse to perform this mitzvah due to our disappointment in the spiritual level of the Kohen Gadol, even if that disappointment is well founded. Each generation merits leaders specific to the challenges of that generation, and not necessarily would an earlier and more scholarly leader, have been as effective as the current leader. Another important idea can be gleaned from this, as well. Regardless of how saintly our leaders may, or may not be; that is never an excuse to cease practicing Mitzvos. Our obligation to serve Hashem transcends the personal morals of our spiritual leaders.