Celebrating Shavuot

Posted on 6/5/2014 by Israel Today
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"Also on the day of the first fruits, when you present a new grain offering to the Lord in your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work." (Numbers 28:26) The Jewish holiday of Shavuot was celebrated yesterday. According to Jewish tradition Shavuot is the day the Children of Israel received the Torah at Mt. Sinai. According to the Talmud God gave the Ten Commandments to the Jews on the sixth night of the Hebrew month of Sivan. Shavuot always falls 50 days after the second night of Passover.

In biblical times Shavuot also marked the beginning of the new agricultural season and was called Hag HaKatzir, meaning the harvest holiday. Shavuot is also called Hag HaBikurim, or the holiday of first fruits. During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem it was the practice to bring first fruits to the Temple on Shavuot. In ancient times, the grain harvest lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness.

It began with the harvesting of barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of wheat at Shavuot. Shavuot was thus the concluding festival of the grain harvest. The first fruits were brought from the Seven Species with which the Land of Israel is blessed namely, wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.

Despite the fact that there is no Temple today, we at Israel Today nevertheless have a special occasion to celebrate the first fruits of the work of our vineyards in the Israeli desert. We are proud that after four long and challenging years we can enjoy the first wine produced by us and make it available to our friends. A fine red wine - Simeon 2012 - a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon & 50% Shiraz is being produced on the sandy soil in the desert close to the biblical location of Kadesh Barnea.

By Ora Shapiro