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    The agricultural & spiritual – Shavu’ot

    Synagogues and homes are decorated with greenery to mark Yom HaBikkurim, the Festival of the First Fruits.

    The books of Jewish customs agree on the general idea but have different explanations for the details.

    One view is that the custom recalls Mount Sinai, a little, rather nondescript mountain, which burst into greenery when God chose it as the site of the Revelation.

    It reminds us that when a place, a person or a period is privileged to be the Divine instrument of joy, it smiles and feels proud to have been singled out by the Almighty.

    The use of fruit trees and their branches on Shavu’ot symbolises the idea that – as we see from Psalm 92, the psalm for the Sabbath day – the tzaddikim are fruitful and productive.

    There is even a reminder of Moshe Rabbenu, through whom the Torah was given on Shavu’ot. He was hidden for three months after his birth on 7 Adar, which means that his emergence took place on Shavu’ot.

    In this way we combine and integrate the two aspects of the festival, the agricultural and the spiritual.

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