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Shavuot? What's Shavuot?

by Hillel News |Jun 07, 2011|Comments
Shavout is known as the Day of the First Fruits.
Shavout is known as the "Day of the First Fruits."

Shavuot has several names: Chag HaShavuot (the Festival of Weeks); Chag HaKatzir (the Festival of the Harvest); Yom HaBikurim (the Day of First Fruits); and Chag Mattan Torah (the Holiday of the Giving of the Torah).

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Originally an agricultural festival in the month of Sivan, Shavuot was celebrated by pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem, where Jews offered the first fruits of their harvest. There was also a tradition that the Torah was received on Shavuot. As it was queried in the Talmud: Why is the sixth day singled out among the days of creation? For the sixth day has a special article preceding it, noting it as "the day." It is to teach that the creation made a deal with the Holy One: "If Israel accepts the Torah, all will be well. If not I'll return the world back to chaos." (Talmud Shabbat 88a) Rashi comments that "the day" is the Sixth of Sivan, the Festival of Shavuot.

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