Amir Shlomian, the Jewish Director of Ein Bustan wrote an article before the Muslim Eid El Adha festival…and now we bring you the following letter, written by Hasna Suwaed, Muslim teacher in Ein Bustan, on the eve of the Jewish Shavuot festival:
Greetings, everyone, and Happy Holiday to those who are celebrating Shavuot.
Shavuot is called the Festival of Weeks
(Hebrew: חג השבועות,
it is connected to the season of the grain harvest in Israel. In ancient times, the grain harvest lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness, it began with the harvesting of the barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat at Shavuot. The holiday is also called the Harvest Festival or Day of the First Fruits
: when the first fruits of the year were taken to the Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times.
It is also the holiday on which the Torah was revealed by God to the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai, and according to Jewish tradition, Moses received the ten commandments on Mount Sinai, and brought them down to the People of Israel.
Dairy foods like milk and cheese are traditionally consumed on the Shavuot holiday.One of the explanations for this custom is that The Torah is compared to milk by King Solomon
, who wrote: "Like honey and milk, it lies under your tongue" (Song of Songs
Now I will write what I believe the harvest is hinting to us. In Arabic, the katsir and katsar mean - seriousness and cutting. The Katsir, or harvest, is the time for harvesting the fruits of all we have sown, and collect the finished product. According to the Jewish tradition, the first fruits were brought o the Temple and given to others, in the Islam, one is instructed to give from the harvest and fruit as charity to others.
When looked at more deeply, my interpretation of the word katsir (harvest) is that it bears within it: giving, love, and empathy for others and their needs. The harvest: action and consequence - let’s look briefly at what we are harvesting. When do we harvest? And how do we arrive at that point? If we want wheat, we need to sow wheat, and if we want corn, we need to sow corn. There is also a particular time to sow and reap each type of crop. We can harvest at the same time, what differs are the type of seeds, this is the rule of the earth. Depending on what we wish to harvest, we need to first sow the appropriate seeds. If we want a good and blessed harvest we need to make sure we prepare the earth well. This calls for lots of work and effort, and necessitates lots of patience until we reach harvest time. It’s difficult - but worth it.
Did you understand my meaning, between the lines?
So come - together let us sow the seeds of good deeds, which will come back to us and to the entire world with blessed results.
I send you my blessing,
Translated from the Hebrew: Rachel Gottlieb
Read a description of Ein Bustan's unique joint Shavuot Celebration