The four names for Shavuot

The four names for Shavuot

The Feast of Shavuot constitutes the second of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals (the other two are Pesach and Sukkot) in which, according to the biblical mandate, each Jew must present himself in the Great Temple of Jerusalem. < br> In general, this Festival is known by the following names:

1. Zman matan torateinu - Time of the Giving of our Torah
On the sixth day of the month of Sivan (it was a Shabbat day), of the year 2448 after the Creation, (1312 before the Common E.) Di -s gave us the Torah on Mount Sinai. The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), on Sivan 6 and 7, commemorates this great event.

2. Jag Hashavuot - Feast of Weeks
This festival receives such a name because it is celebrated at the end of the seven weeks of Sefirat Haomer, whose daily count had been started on the second night of Pesach.

​​3. Jag Hakatzir - Harvest Festival
In the Land of Israel, this was the harvest season, especially that of wheat. The first offerings of the new harvest were made in the form of two loaves of wheat –Shtei Halechem-.

4. Yom Habikurim - Day of the Firstfruits
The Festival of Shavuot also marked the beginning of the time to offer the “first fruits” –Bikurim– when the Holy Temple existed in Jerusalem. It also bears this name due to the offering of the "Two loaves" - which were called the "first fruits" of the wheat harvest.

Symbols and Customs:

-In the Mishnah and in the Talmud, the Shavuot festival is generally called "Atzeret," that is, "solemn assembly," or "closing festival" (not to be confused with Shemini Atzeret, the eighth day of Sukkot). The reason is that this festival is seen as concluding the Passover festival, with which it is connected in many ways (just as Shemini Atzeret is the “extension” of the Sukkot Feast of Tabernacles).

-A Shavuot was called “Pentecost” (“Fiftieth”) by Greek Jews, because it is celebrated fifty days after the offering of the Omer.
(Excerpts from “Shavuot” by Rabbi Nissan Mindel)

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