During the time of the Temple, there was a special ritual of gratitude which took place beginning on Shavuot: the bringing of the bikkurim (first fruits). In a celebratory pilgrimage, the farmers would bring the very first fruits of their harvest up to Jerusalem, and present them as an offering to the priests. The fruit would be beautifully adorned and brought in dedicated trays or baskets. This ritual represents a statement of appreciation- acknowledging that the fruit of the labor of the land is a result of God given abundance and blessing.
In modern times, the early Zionists in Israel, the chalutzim (pioneers) who toiled the land, revived the bikkurim ritual and celebrated it on Shavuot as a symbol of the bountiful harvest.
While many of us do not toil the land and grow our own food, we may still be blessed with fresh food and sustaining nourishment. We have other elements of nature and additional fruits of our labor for which to be thankful.
In this activity, we will create a contemporary twist on the bikkurim tradition:
Explore your kitchen, your home, the nature around you. What could you gather together into a basket or tray, which would represent the bounty with which you are blessed?
Gather some food items, flora or other natural objects that represent your blessings.
Arrange them in a beautiful arrangement as a centerpiece for your table.
Use their presence as an opportunity to engage those around you in a conversation of what you’re each appreciative for.