Shavuot - A Festival of First Fruits

Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage holidays, when in ancient times, the people of Israel would go up to the Temple in Jerusalem. It is known as Hag Habikurim, the Festival of the First Fruits, because the pilgrims would bring with them offerings of the newly-ripened fruits. Because it marks the end of the grain harvest, Shavuot is also called the Festival of Reaping, Hag Ha-Katzir. Yet another name is Hag Matan Torah, the Festival of the Giving of the Torah. According to tradition, the Torah was given to Am Yisrael (the people of Israel) on Mt. Sinai on this date. Shavuot is also associated with Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David; according to tradition King David was born on this day and died on this day at the age of 70. The Book of Ruth is traditionally read on Shavuot.

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