Sanhedrin to Hold Shavuot (Pentecost) Offering in Samarian Hills

May 25, 2020

4 min read

The Sanhedrin is holding a reenactment of the Shavuot offering on Tuesday and will include a reenactment of the Thanksgiving offering in recognition of God’s mercy in ameliorating the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to pandemic restrictions, the event will be held on Tuesday at Mitzpe Natan, a scenic overlook outside of the city of Itamar built to honor the memory of Lt. Matan Zagron who was killed on 27 October 2002 by a Palestinian terrorist. The ceremony will be performed by Kohanim (men of the priestly caste) dressed in authentic garb as described in the Bible, led by Rabbi Baruch Kahane, who has played a prominent role in many of the Temple reenactments. The two lambs will be slaughtered as part of the ritual by Rabbi Aviv Gamliel, the highly respected head of the Shiloh Yeshiva (Torah learning institution). 

“There is a great deal of interest in these events from young people from Judea and Samaria,” Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, explained to Breaking Israel News. “Bringing back the Temple Service is explicitly required by the Torah but older, more mainstream Jews, resist this. The return to the Temple will transform Judaism, return it to what it once was, and what it was meant to be. According to Jewish law, Jews should be living in Israel and performing the Temple service. To say otherwise is inaccurate. We rely on the new generation, born as Israeli Jews, to return our nation to what God intended it to be when he gave us these commandments at Mount Sinai.”

“That is why it is so significant that we are performing this mitzvah at the site dedicated to a young Jew who, in the tradition of King David, was a soldier in the name of God.”

Rabbi Weiss noted that one clear message that came out of the pandemic was that religious people can no longer rely on their leaders or on the scientists charged with their safety and health.

“The world leaders are all lost and confused,” Rabbi Weiss said. “The UN has become totally evil, putting abortion ahead of saving lives. The World Health Organization has gone to the highest bidder which is China. Trump and Netanyahu are the best of the lot but until the attach themselves to the Temple Mount and not just Jerusalem, they will never bring their plans to fruition. 

Shavuot is an annual Jewish holiday, one of the three Biblically mandated pilgrimage festivals when, in Temple times, Jews ascended to Jerusalem. It is observed after the Jews complete the mitzvah (Torah commandment) of counting seven complete weeks.

You must count until the day after the seventh week—fifty days; then you shall bring an offering of new grain to Hashem. Leviticus 23:16

An agricultural festival, Shavuot comes at the end of the winter during the grain harvest and as such, is observed in the Temple by an offering of two loaves of bread. Made from the choicest wheat, which was ground and sifted twelve times before being baked, the two loaves ill be brought at the reenactment.

The Omer offering is preceded by a libation of wine made from specially grown grapes, poured from silver vessels that were specially prepared to be used in the Third Temple. The two loaves are the only grain offerings brought to the Temple made from leavened bread. All of the other grain offerings are flat, pan bread, usually fried in oil. Even the Show Bread that was always present in the Temple, despite being quite large, was essentially matzah, unleavened bread.

The two loaves, baked beforehand from a sourdough, were shaped in a special manner with squared ‘horns’ in the corners, resembling the altar.

Two unleavened loaves will also be brought as a thanksgiving “wave offering” along with two lambs, as a central aspect of the national holiday. The organizers will be providing two especially small lambs since they must be “waved” at the same time as the loaves, a difficult task made even more difficult if the lambs are larger.

Shavuot is also referred to as Chag Habikurim (holiday of first fruits) in Numbers since it was the beginning of the period in which the bikurim (first fruits) were brought to Jerusalem. The Torah commands the bringing of the first fruits from the period between the pilgrimage festivals of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

On the day of the first fruits, your festival of Shavuot, when you bring an offering of new grain to Hashem, you shall observe a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations. Numbers 28:26

This aspect of the holiday is highly exclusive, focusing only on Jews living in Israel. Only first fruits grown entirely in the land of Israel are included in this mitzvah. Even first fruits grown by non-Jews inside the land of Israel are not considered bikurim. Upon presenting the first fruits to the Kohen in the Temple, the Jew recites an avowal from the book of Deuteronomy which begins with this self-identifying statement.

My father was a fugitive Aramean. He went down to Egypt with meager numbers and sojourned there; but there he became a great and very populous nation. Deuteronomy 26:5

Since this description excludes non-Jews, they would not make this statement even if they brought first-fruits. The fruits were brought in baskets, beautifully displayed, and given to the priests. The fruits were given to the priests after the donor recited a confession, detailed in Deuteronomy.

I profess this day unto Hashem thy God, that I am come unto the land which Hashem swore unto our fathers to give us.’” Deuteronomy 26:3

‘A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous. Deuteronomy 26:5

And now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the land, which Thou, O Hashem, hast given me.’ And thou shalt set it down before Hashem thy God, and worship before Hashem thy God. Deuteronomy 26:10

These verses were specifically used as acknowledging God as the one who redeemed the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage and expressing gratitude to God for bringing them to the Promised Land.


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