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“These are the appointed festivals of Hashem, the special times, which you shall designate in their proper time.
“You shall count for yourselves, from the day after the rest day (referring to the first day of Pesach (Passover), when we “rest” from acts of creation) seven weeks, they shall be complete. Until the morrow of the seventh week you shall count, fifty days, and you shall offer a new meal offering to Hashem” (Vayikra -16). This refers to the holiday of Shavuos (literally, weeks). Why is Shavuos reckoned by counting the days from Pesach, instead of having a specific date assigned, like the other holidays?
we observe a holiday we are not celebrating something which happened in the
past. For example, Pesach is not merely a celebration of our having left
first Shavuos in our history occurred seven weeks after the Exodus, when we
received the Torah. The Slonimer Rebbe explains that this was not an independent
holiday. Rather it was a continuation of the Exodus. Why did Hashem take us out
taking us out was for a very specific purpose: To be a “goy kadosh” — a
special nation. The reason Shavuos is not identified by name is to teach us that
the receiving of the Torah and the Exodus are irrevocably entwined. One without
the other would serve no purpose; thus they are considered one holiday.
is the significance of the new meal offering which was brought on Shavuos?
grain produce of the new crop could be eaten, a measure of ground barley must be
brought to the temple on the second day of Pesach. This symbolized that
agricultural success is a gift from Hashem. Once it was brought, all grain that
had taken root prior to this time could be eaten. In the
offerings, one to permit personal use of the new crop, the other to permit its
use in the
We can also learn another lesson from this. The first offering, brought on the second day of Pesach, was from the new barley crop. Barley is the least distinguished of the five grains (wheat, spelt, oats, rye and barley) and is a food commonly fed to animals. The two loaves that were offered on Shavuos were brought from the new wheat crop, wheat being the most distinguished of the five grains.
elevation of the nature of the Shavuos offering from the Pesach offering is
meant to be symbolic of the growth each Jew is meant to experience during the
seven week countdown from Pesach to Shavuos.