And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:Deuteronomy 16:10 King James Version
Last year I paid no attention to Shavuot. It didn’t even dawn on me that shavuot is the plural of shavua (week). This year I hope the roots have gone deeper.
After signing up for Michael Rood’s newsletter I began observing the crescent moon after sunset which marked the beginning of a lunar month. It is amazing how different these crescent moons look. The one last Tuesday evening marking the beginning of the third month was very slender and close to the horizon. I almost missed it before it set behind the trees.
Shavuot is 50 days after the First Fruits offering. Pentecost is 50 days after the first appearance of Yeshua (Jesus) to his disciples after His resurrection. After 50 days seven Shabbats would have passed and we would again be on the same day of the week. On Pentecost we remember the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem mentioned in Acts 2. Shavuot recalls the giving and receiving of the Torah and making the covenant at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19 – 24:11).
Nehemia Gordon reports that during the first century there were three different calculations for when the First Fruits offering was to be made relative to the seven days of Unleavened Bread. The Pharisees said it was to occur on the second day of Unleavened Bread, or 16 Aviv, every year. The Essenes said it was to occur on the first day of the week after those seven days. The Sadducees said it was to occur on the day after the weekly Shabbat within the seven days of Unleavened Bread. After the fall of Jerusalem, the view of the Pharisees prevailed. Their calendar is what one sees on sites such as Chabad.org.
By next Shavuot, God willing, more of this story will make sense to me.
Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Naso, 12 Sivan, 5782 – June 11, 2022
Torah: Numbers 4:21-7:89
Haftarah: Judges 13:2-13:25
Brit Chadashah: Acts 21:17-26
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar