Many think of Shavu’ot as the time for graduations, and that it is! We also celebrate the spiritual awakening of our people with the giving and receiving of the Torah. (Also we eat cheesecake because it is rich and sweet like the words of Torah.)
And we celebrate the “new fruits” of the season. Shavu’ot has been called “Hag haBikkurim,” the festival of first fruits. “Bikkurim” refers to the first fruits of the harvest which were taken to the Temple as an offering to God (as described in parashat Ki Tavo), and comes from the same root as bekhor, firstborn.
Of course, we are not offering our children in the same way as a fruit!
Baby Bikkurim on the first day of Shavu’ot is a welcoming of our youngest members of the community.
So this holiday mixes the intellectual with the spiritual and adds in a celebration of fruits both literal and figurative! And we have Yizkor on the second day.
Happy Shavu’ot, and a warm, snuggly welcome to all the new fruits of our community!