HaBikkurim הבכורים

HaBikkurim הבכורים

Yom Habikurim (יום הבכורים) Digital Painting

Yom Habikurim (םרוכבה םוי) depicts a girl with a basket filled with first fruits to be brought to the Cohen before Adonai at the Mishkan.

Yom Habikurim (Day of the First Fruits) is a celebration of the wheat harvest and the ripening of the firstfruits. It was a season of gladness and one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals. Lev. 23:9-12 states, “Adonai said to Moshe, Tell the people of Isra’el, After you enter the land I am giving you and harvest its ripe crops, you are to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the Cohen. He is to wave the sheaf before Adonai, so that you will be accepted.”

According to Deut 8:8, the Seven Species collected were two grains and five fruits: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Each family would put the basket before the alter in the presence of Adonai and recite Deut. 26:5-11, “My ancestor was a nomad from Aram. He went down into Egypt few in number and stayed. There he became a great, strong, populous nation. But the Egyptians treated us badly; they oppressed us and imposed harsh slavery on us. So we cried out to Adonai, the God of our ancestors. Adonai heard us and saw our misery, toil and oppression; and Adonai brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and a stretched-out arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders. Now he has brought us to this place and given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Therefore, as you see, I have now brought the firstfruits of the land which you, Adonai, have given me. You are then to put the basket down before Adonai your God, prostrate yourself before Adonai your God, and take joy in all the good that Adonai your God has given you, your household, the Levi and the foreigner living with you.”

It is the retelling of the history of the Jewish people as they went into exile in Ancient Egypt and were enslaved and oppressed; following which God redeemed them and brought them to the land of Israel. The ceremony of Bikkurim conveys the Jew’s gratitude to God both for the first fruits of the field and for His guidance throughout Jewish history.

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