Shavuot – Jewish Holiday of the receiving the Torah
Shavuot is the holiday of receiving the Torah, the compilation of the moral and ethical laws of the Jewish nation.
It is celebrated on the 6th of the Hebrew month Sivan and is a public holiday in Israel.
The Hebrew word “Shavuot” means “weeks” – seven weeks counted from the second day of Passover. This time is called “The counting of the Omer”. The Torah tells us that it took exactly forty-nine days for the Israelites to travel from Egypt to the Mount Sinai. This is where the Counting of the Omer began.
According to the tradition, on this day on the Mount Sinai, Moses has received the Ten Commandments of the Covenant.
These Commandments are the moral foundation of all human morality, without which no nation could have progressed.
Some of the spoken commandments were combined into the Torah, Five Books of Moses.
Other Commandments that Moses received were written only 1500 years after the destruction of the Second Temple.
In the ancient times, Shavuot was recognized as the first day when a person could bring first fruits offering, or Bikkurim, to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Bikkurim were Seven Species of Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. The Bikkurim are described in Deuteronomy 26:1-10.
In agricultural settlements and kibbutzim Shavuot is a happy holiday season of ripening fruits, including the seven species mentioned in the Torah: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Children go to school or kindergarten with wreaths on their heads, carrying baskets full of fresh fruit. Synagogues and houses are decorated with green branches and garlands of flowers and fruit, the windows of houses are adorned with paper applications.
During this holiday, many agricultural communities, kibbutzim and moshavim in Israel arrange processions and special ceremonies to glorify the growing crops produced in the fields of the land of Milk and Honey.
These beautiful ceremonies are accompanied by folk singing and musical performances, joyous dancing. If you are visiting Israel at this time, you should see one of such parades – it will be definitely an unforgettable experience.