Saturday, May 19, 2018: Shavuot Begins
Shavuot begins at sundown. Called the Feast of the Weeks in the Jewish calendar, Shavuot is a two-day holiday that was originally a harvest festival. It’s also a thanksgiving day to commemorate the Giving of the Law, the Torah, recalling when Moses and the Israelites received the Ten Commandments from God at Mount Sinai. Shavuot, which means weeks, always begins exactly seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot is known also as Yom Habikkurim, or “The Day of the First Fruits,” because Israel’s farmers would bring a bundle from their first harvest to the temple in Jerusalem as a token of thanksgiving to God. Spring harvests in Israel began with the barley crop at Passover. Each farmer would set aside the first of each type of fruit to ripen, tie it in ribbon, and all would be brought to the city, accompanied by a joyful, musical celebration.