"You shall bring your first fruits to the
House of the L-rd your G-d... " (Ex.)
The Names of the Festival
Shavuot is the anniversary of the Revelation of the Law at Mount Sinai, when the Children of Israel received the Torah from the Holy One, blessed be He.Shavuot literally means "weeks;" Shavuot is thus known as the Festival of Weeks.
It is called so because it culminates the seven week period of counting the omer which begins on the second day of Passover, when the omer barley offering is brought to the Temple. But the Bible also refers to it as the "Feast of Firstfruits" (Exodus, Numbers 28:26), and the firstfruits cannot be brought to the Temple until then.
The Seven Species
While the Land of Israel is blessed with many fruits, the seven described in the Biblical verse, below, had a special status -- they were the First Fruits brought to the Temple on Shavuot, and given as an offering to God. As such, they symbolize the Land of Israel and the connection between the Jewish people and this land. Five of the seven spieces are Fruit trees and Zo Artzeinu focuses on planting all five of them. Olives, Grapes, Figs, Pomegranates and Date trees.
Omer period that began on Pesach
Man has been cultivating grapes from the earliest times: the first vineyard mentioned in the Bible was planted by Noah after the Flood. The cluster of grapes, brought to the Children of Israel in the wilderness by the Spies, symbolized the bounty of the Land of Israel. Throughout the generations, grapes have provided fruit and wine, and contributed to the economy of the indigenous Jewish community. Wine, indicative of joy, is used in many Jewish rituals and ceremonies.
An old Hebrew song by Yaakov Orland portrays the pomegranate:
The pomegranate is a dark red fruit with rich red flowers, and its abundant seeds serve as a powerful symbol of fertility. The pomegranate's shape has been used in many decorative objects, such as the rimonim bells used to decorate Torah scrolls, the 200 rimonim of copper on the beams of the Temple, and the rimonim which decorated the High Priest's garment in the Temple.
The olive tree is one of the oldest and most common trees in the Land of Israel. Indeed, there are olive trees in the Galilee that are estimated to be thousands of years old. The tree's leaves are green all year round, its roots are strong, and the silvery underside of the leaves gives off a sheen of light.
The date is both one of the Seven Species for which the Land of Israel is noted, and one of the Four Species used on the festival of Sukkot. The date tree is a tall and its fruit grows in clusters near the top. The sweet dates, which ripen at the end of summer, are eaten fresh or dried; they are also used to make honey. The tree itself is quite versatile -- its branches being used for cover (as in the Sukkah), its fibers for rope,and its trunk for building.
Pictures courtesy of the Bezalel-Levy Gallery
Although we can't bring Bikurim to the Temple yet, we CAN plant fruit trees!
G-d willing the fruits from THOSE trees will be brought to the 3rd Temple!
Plant a fruit tree from one of the Seven Species mentioned in the torah (Bible)
Dedicate your tree in honor or memory of a friend or loved one.
We will mail them an authentic certificate with the printed dedication.
Makes a wonderful and meaningful gift.
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