THE FESTIVAL OF SHAVUOTH, although a one-day festival, really began with the conclusion of the first day of Passover, some fifty days earlier. On that second day of the Passover festival, the new barley crop was first harvested and offered in the Holy Temple. On Shavuoth the wheat harvest was celebrated by the harvestng and bringing of the new wheat crop to the Holy Temple, where it was prepared and used in the baking of the two special Shavuoth loaves. Likewise, pilgrims brought the firstfruits from their own fields and orchards, of the seven fruits of the land of Israel mentioned in Deuteronomy: Figs, grapes, dates, pomegranates, olives, wheat and barley. Despite being at the height of the growing season, when the physical demands upon farmers was great, the pilgrims joyfully gathered their firstfruit offerings, and set out for Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.

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