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May 04

Piecing together Shavuot

What is שבועות (Shavuot; the festival of ‘weeks’) all about?

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ענפים (Anafim; ‘branches’ for 3rd-4th grade children) know three major things the תורה (Torah) says about שבועות (Shavuot): It celebrates the wheat harvest; it comes after counting the עומר (Omer), which takes place over a period of 7 weeks; and the Ancient Israelites should celebrate it by bringing ביכורים (bikkurim; “first fruits”).

But now ענפים (Anafim) also know this: the Early Rabbis added another layer by connecting the festival of שבועות (Shavuot) with the time when the Israelites received the Torah.

Why?

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Here are some connections they’ve come up with so far:

-Maybe the Israelites had wheat fields while they were camped out at the base of the mountain (Exodus 19:2). (See the fields down there, behind the mountain?) Someone else suggested: Maybe there was wheat growing on the mountain itself.

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-Maybe the Early Rabbis thought the Israelites just happened to get the Torah at the right time of year, when it would be time for the wheat harvest.

-The Torah includes the instructions about celebrating the wheat harvest, so by celebrating that you’re also kind of celebrating the Torah too.

-Maybe the long wait counting the עומר (omer) is like the part of the story when the Israelites had to wait for משה (Moshe, Moses) to come back down the mountain.

What do you think?

 

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