By : Kaufmann Kohler J. L. Magnus
Executive Committee of the Editorial
Board. Judah David Eisenstein
Connection with Harvest.
—In Rabbinical Literature:
"The Morrow After Sabbath."
The Cabalists and Pentecost.
Ti??un Lel Shabu'ot.
Floral Decorations and Confirmation.
According to the Sects.
Association with the Giving of
given by the Greek-speaking Jews
to the festival which occurred
fifty days (? pe?t???st?, sc.
????a = "?ag ?amishshim Yom";
comp. Lev. xxiii. 16) after the
offering of the barley sheaf during
the Passover feast (Tobit ii.
1; II Macc. xii. 32; Josephus,
"Ant." iii. 10, §
6; I Cor. xvi. 8; Philo, "De
Septenario," §21). The
Feast of the Fiftieth Day has
been a many-sided one (comp. Book
of Jubilees, vi. 21: "This
feast is twofold and of a double
nature"), and as a consequence
has been called by many names.
In the Old Testament it is called
the "Feast of Harvest"
("?ag ha-?a?ir"; Ex.
xxiii. 16) and the "Feast
of Weeks" ("?ag Shabu'ot";
ib. xxxiv. 22; Deut. xvi. 10;
II Chron. viii. 13; Aramaic, "?agga
di-Shebu'aya," Men. 65a;
Greek, ???t? ??d???d??), also
the "Day of the First-Fruits"
Num. xxviii. 26; ????a t?? ?e??,
LXX.). In the later literature
it was called also the "closing
?ag. ii. 4; Aramaic, "'a?arta";
Pes. 42b; Greek, ?sa??a Josephus,
l.c.). It is called, too, the
"closing season of the Passover"
("'a?eret shel Pesa?";
Pesi?. xxx. 193) to distinguish
it from the seventh day of Passover
and from the closing day of the
Feast of Tabernacles, i.e., the
end of the fruit harvest (Lev.
xxiii. 36; Num. xxix. 35; Deut.
Palestine the grain harvest lasted
seven weeks and was a season of
gladness (Jer. v. 24; Deut. xvi.
9; Isa. ix. 2). It began with
the harvesting of the barley (Men.
65-66) during the Passover and
ended with the harvesting of the
wheat at Pentecost, the wheat
being the last cereal to ripen.
Pentecost was thus the concluding
festival of the grain harvest,
just as the eighth day of Tabernacles
was the concluding festival of
the fruit harvest (comp. Pesi?.
xxx. 193). According to Ex. xxxiv.
18-26 (comp. ib. xxiii. 10-17),
the Feast of Weeks is the second
of the three festivals to be celebrated
by the altar dance of all males
at the sanctuary. They are to
bring to the sanctuary "the
first-fruits of wheat harvest,"
"the first-fruits of thy
labors which thou hast sown in
the field." These are not
offerings definitely prescribed
for the community; "but with
a tribute of a free-will offering
of thine hand . . . shalt thou
[the individual] rejoice before
the Lord thy God, thou and thy
son and thy daughter, . . . the
Levite that is within thy gates,
and the stranger, and the fatherless,
and the widow" (Deut. xvi.
9-12). In Lev. xxiii. 15-22, however,
there is a regularly appointed
first-fruit offering which the
whole community must bring. It
consists of two first-fruit loaves
of new meal, of two-tenths of
an ephah, baked with leaven. The
loaves were to be waved; hence
the name "wave-loaves"
("le?em tenufah"). Furthermore,
various animal sacrifices were
enjoined, and no work was permitted.
In Num. xxviii. 26-31 the main
pentecostal offering is one of
new meal ("min?ah Hadashah").
There is also a list of grain
and animal offerings differing
somewhat from that in Lev.xxiii.15-22.
These offerings are to be made
in addition to the fixed daily
offering. In Men. iv. 5, x. 4
the list of Leviticus is referred
to the sacrifices directly connected
with the loaves, and the Numbers
list is referred to the sacrifices
for Pentecost considered as a
special festival; the one was
designated for the journeyings
in the desert; the other was added
after the Israelites had entered
the promised land. The concluding
festival of the harvest weeks
was largely attended (Josephus,
l.c. xvii. 10, § 2; idem,
"B. J." ii., iii. 1;
Acts ii. 5).K. J. L. M.
festival is known in Mishnah and
Talmud as "'A?eret"
( or ), excepting in Megillah
Ta'anit i., where (= "the
Feast of Weeks") occurs,
which is explained as meaning
is usually translated a "solemn
assembly," meaning the congregation
at the pilgrimage festivals. The
name is applied also to Passover
(Deut. xvi. 8) and to Sukkot (Lev.
xxiii. 36). Ibn Ezra thinks "'A?eret"
denotes a holy day, a day of rest
and cessation from work (comp.
= "detained," I Sam.
xxi. 7). In post-Talmudic and
geonic literature the Biblicalname
"Shabu'ot" was resumed.
Pentecost falls on the 6th of
Siwan and never occurs on Tuesday,
Thursday, or Saturday. Outside
of Palestine the Orthodox Jews
have since the exilic period celebrated
the following day also, as "the
second day of Shabu'ot."
Pentecost is the fiftieth day
of 'Omer, beginning from the second
day of Passover. During the existence
of the Temple the first-fruits
were offered as well as a sacrifice
of two loaves of bread from the
new harvest, etc. (Lev. xxiii.
Morrow After Sabbath."
the Biblical commandment to offer
the 'omer "on the morrow
after the Sabbath" = (ib.
verse 11), the Rabbis maintained
that "Sabbath" here
means simply a day of rest and
refers to Passover. The Sadducees
(Boethusians) disputed this interpretation,
contending that "Sabbath"
meant "Saturday." Accordingly
they would transfer the count
of "seven weeks" from
the morrow of the first Saturday
in Passover, so that Pentecost
would always fall on Sunday. The
Boethusians advanced the argument
"because Moses, as a friend
of the Israelites, wished to give
them an extended holy day by annexing
Pentecost to the Sabbath."
Johanan then turned to his disciples
and pointed out that the Law purposely
fixed the interval of fifty days
in order to explain that the seven
weeks, nominally, do not necessarily
begin from Sunday (Men. 65a, b).
See also Pharisees.
claim that this controversy was
the reason for the substitution
by the Talmudists of "'A?eret"
for "Shabu'ot" or "Weeks,"
on which the Sadducees, and later
the Karaites in the geonic period,
based their adverse contention.
Another reason might be to avoid
confusion with "shebu'ot"
= "oaths." The Septuagint
translation t? ?pa????? t?? p??t??
("on the morrow of the first
day") confirms the rabbinical
interpretation. On?elos paraphrases
"mi-batar yoma ?aba"
(="from after the holy day").
The Karaites accepted the Sadducees'
view. They claim to have advanced
"lion" (powerful) arguments
at the time of Anan (840). In
this discussion, they say, Anan
sacrificed his life("Apiryon
'Asah Lo," ed. Neubauer,
§ 6, p. 11, Leipsic, 1866).
Ibn Ezra (ad loc.) argues against
the contention of the Karaites
and claims that as all other holy
days have fixed days in the month,
it would be unreasonable to suppose
that Pentecost depended on a certain
day of the week. The original
contention of the Sadducees was
one of the reasons for fixing
the Christian Passover on Sunday,
in the year 325 (Pineles, "Darkeh
shel Torah," p. 212, Vienna,
Cabalists and Pentecost.
traditional festival of Pentecost
as the birthday of the Torah (
= "the time our Law was given"),
when Israel became a constitutional
body and "a distinguished
people," remained the sole
celebration after the Exile. The
Shabu'ot prayers and Ma?zor have
references to this and particularly
to the precepts deduced from the
Pentateuch. The cabalists arranged
a special "ti??un" for
Pentecost eve, consisting of excerpts
from the beginning and end of
every book of the Bible and Mishnah,
which abridgment they considered
tantamount to the reading of the
complete works, and accepted as
the approval of the Law. Apparently
the custom of studying the Law
all night of Pentecost is old
(Zohar, Emor, 98a); but there
is no record of the practise prior
to the Safed cabalists headed
by Isaac Luria in the sixteenth
century. The custom has since
been observed in the eastern states
of Europe, and particularly in
reading occupies the pious till
morning; others finish it at midnight.
The collection is called "Ti??un
Lel Shabu'ot" (="Preparation
for Pentecost Eve"; comp.
the "Ti??un Lel Hosha'na
Rabbah" for Tabernacles).
The Pentateuch reading contains
three to seven verses from the
beginning and the end of every
Some of the important sections
are read in full, as follows:
the days of Creation (Gen. i.
1-ii. 3); the Exodus and the song
at the Red Sea (Ex. xiv. 1-xv.
27); the giving of the Decalogue
on Mount Sinai (ib. xviii. 1-xx.
26, xxiv. 1-18, xxxiv. 27-35;
Deut. v. 1-vi. 9); the historical
review and part of "Shema'"
(ib. x. 12-xi. 25). The same method
is used with the excerpts from
the Prophets: the important ch.
i. of Ezekiel (the "Merkabah")
is read in full. The Minor Prophets
are considered as one book: the
excerpts are from Hos. i.1-3,
Hab. ii. 20-iii. 19, and Mal.
iii. 22-24 (A. V. iv. 4-6). Ruth
is read in full; and of the Psalms,
Ps. i., xix., lxviii., cxix.,
cl. The order of the twenty-four
books of the Scriptures is different
from the accepted one: probably
it is an ancient order, as follows:
(Torah) Five Books of Moses; (Prophets)
Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel; (Minor
Prophets) [Hagiographa] Ruth,
Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,
Song of Solomon, Lamentations,
Daniel, Esther, Chronicles, Ezra
= 24 books. Next, the excerpts
from mishnayyot are read, the
beginning and end of every treatise,
in all sixty-three, with some
important chapters in extenso;
next, the "Sefer Ye?irah";
the 613 precepts as enumerated
by Maimonides (see Commandments,
The 613). Later, excerpts from
the Zohar bearing on the subject
were added, with opening and concluding
prayers. The whole reading is
divided into thirteen parts, after
each of which a "?addish
di-Rabbanan" is recited.
Zohar calls the time between Passover
and Pentecost the "courting
days of the bridegroom Israel
with the bride Torah." Those
who participate in the ti??un
celebration are the Temple-men
= " of the King [God]."
The Zohar has two epigrams on
Pentecost: (1) "In the twin
month [zodiac sign of Gemini]
the twin Law [written and oral]
was given to the children of twin
Israel [Jacob and Esau]."
(2) "In the third month [Siwan]
the treble Law [Pentateuch, Prophets,
and Hagiographa] was given to
the third [best] people"
(Zohar, Yitro, 78b).
the Law was given on Pentecost,
the Rabbis wished to make that
day the most enjoyable holy day.
R. Joseph ordered a third (best)
calf for the festival, saying:
"Were it not for this day
how many Josephs would there be
in the street!" ("without
the Law there would be no distinction
of scholarship," Pes. 68b).
A popular custom on Pentecost
is to eat dairy foods and cheese-cakes
in honor of the Law, which is
likened to "honey and milk"
(Cant.iv. 11). The meat meal follows
the milk meal. These two meals
represent the two loaves of bread,
formerly offered in the "bikkurim"
offering at the Temple service.
the synagogue the scroll of Ruth
is read because the story of Ruth
embracing Judaism and the description
of the scene of harvesting are
appropriate to the festival of
the Law and of the harvest. Another
reason given is that King David,
a descendant of Ruth, died on
Pentecost ("Sha'are Teshubah"
to Orah Hayyim, 494).
Decorations and Confirmation.
custom widely prevails of displaying
greens on the floors and of otherwise
decorating the home and the synagogue
with plants, flowers, and even
with trees. The greens serve to
remind one of the green mountain
of Sinai; the trees, of the judgment
day for fruit-trees on Pentecost
(R. H. i. 2); they also commemorate
the harvest festival of former
rite of confirmation for Jewish
girls in the synagogue on Pentecost
was introduced by the Reform party.
This festival was selected because
it was the birthday of Judaism.
The story of Ruth's recognition
of the Jewish religion gives color
to the exercise (see Confirmation).
exact day on which the Law was
given is, however, in dispute.
The Rabbis say it was the 6th
of Siwan; according to R. Jose
it was the 7th of that month.
All agree that the Israelites
arrived at the wilderness of Sinai
on the new moon (Ex. xix. 1),
and that the Decalogue was given
on the following Saturday. But
the question whether the new-moon
day fell on Sunday or Monday is
undecided (Shab. 86b).
three days preceding Pentecost
are called "the three days
of the bounds" () to commemorate
the incident of the three days'
preparation before Mount Sinai
(Ex. xix. 11, 12). These days
are distinguished by the permission
of marriage celebrations, which
are prohibited on the other days
of Sefirah save Lag be-'Omer and
Rosh-?odesh. See A?damut; First-Fruits;
Flowers in the Home and the Synagogue;
Law, Reading from the; Pilgrimages
to the Holy Land; Prayer.
Halakot Gedolot, ed. Berlin, 1888,
Shulhan 'Aruk, Ora? Hayyim, 494;
Der Jude, pp. 42-48. Leipsic,
Hebrew Review, ii. 152-157;
Addresses to Young Children, xxi.
189-201, London, 1858;
Friedländer, Jewish Religion,
pp. 393-394, 2d ed., London, 1900;
Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. xiv.
64. For the interpretation of
"the morrow after Sabbath":
Aaron of Nicomedia (Karaite),
Keter Torah, Lev. 65a, Eupatoria,
Pinsker, Li??u?e ?admoniyyot,
Appendix, p. 96;
Cusari, iii. 41;
Lichtenstadt, ?un?ros mi-Mo?orot
ha-Shabbat, Vienna, 1860;
ha-?ara'im, p. 84, Wilna, 1865;
Ha-Maggid, 1840, iv., No. 40;
1879, xxiii., No. 22;
Frankel, Vorstudien zu der Septuaginta,
pp. 190-191, Leipsic, 1841;
Geiger, Urschrift, p. 138, Breslau,
Wellhausen, Pharisäer und
Sadducäer, p. 59, Bamberg,
1874.E. C. J. D. E.
to the Sects.
the Old Testament the exact day
of the celebration of Pentecost
is not given. It is seen from
Ex. xxiii. 10-17, xxxiv. 18 that
it was celebrated some time in
the late spring or the early summer.
In Deut. xvi. 9 (R. V.) the date
is given "seven weeks from
the time thou beginnest to put
the sickle to the standing corn."
In Lev. xxiii. 15, 16 the date
is more definitely given: "And
ye shall count unto you from the
morrow after the Sabbath, from
the day that ye brought the sheaf
of the wave-offering; seven Sabbaths
shall be complete. Even unto the
morrow after the seventh Sabbath
shall ye number fifty days."
The meaning of the word "Sabbath"
in the phrase "after the
ha-Shabbat") and, consequently,
the question as to the day upon
which the Pentecost was to fall
have constituted a chief point
of difference between Jewish sects
(comp. Charles, "The Book
of Jubilees," vi. 22, 32;
xvi. 3). Sabbath may mean either
a "festival" (Lev. xxv.
2, 46) or the weekly Sabbath.
In the general sense of "festival"
the day of bringing the sheaf
of the wave-offering ("yom
?anef"), i.e., "the
day after the Sabbath," would
mean the day after either the
first or the last day of Passover.
(a) That the "Sabbath"
in this case means the first day
of Passover is the view of the
Septuagint, Targ. pseudo-Jonathan,
Targ. On?elos, Josephus ("Ant."
iii. 10, § 5), Philo ("De
Septenario," § 20; comp.
?ag. ii. 4, Men. vi. 1-3), and
of the later rabbinic literature.
Since, according to this view,
the sheaf-offering was waved on
the 16th of Nisan, Pentecost,
fifty days later, was celebrated
on the 6th of Siwan without regard
to the day of the week on which
that fell. (b) That the "Sabbath,"
according to the general meaning
the seventh day of Passover, i.e.,
21st of Nisan, without regard
to the day of the week, is the
view of the Falashas of Abyssinia,
the Syriac version of Lev. xxiii.
11, 15, and the Book of Jubilees
(c. 135 B.C.). The "day after
the Sabbath" is, accordingly,
the 22d of Nisan. The Falashas
reckon fifty days according to
a system of months alternating
thirty and twenty-nine days, the
Feast of Weeks thus falling on
Siwan 12. In Jubilees the Feast
of Weeks and Feast of First-Fruits
of the Harvest are celebrated
on Siwan 15 (Jubilees, xvi. 1,
xliv. 4). Reckoning fifty days
backward, with an ecclesiastical
month of twenty-eight days, one
arrives at Nisan 22 as the date
when the wave-sheaf was offered.
(c) The term "Sabbath,"
as is shown above, was taken to
mean also the weekly Sabbath.
with the Giving of the Law.
is difficult to determine whether
the controversy as to the date
of the celebration of Pentecost
was merely a question of calendation
or whether it had its origin in
the attempt to assign to the festival
a historical motive such as was
lacking in the Old Testament.
Just as Passover and Tabernacles
were associated with historical
events, so Pentecost was brought
together with the day on which
the Torah was given on Sinai (Ex.
R. xxxi.; Shab. 88a; Pes. 68b;
iii. 41; comp. Ex. xix. 1). That
this association had something
to do with the calendar controversy
would seem to follow from the
fact that both Philo and Josephus
make no mention of either the
giving of the Law on that day
or of the calendar dispute. Some
insight into the origin of this
association of Pentecost with
the giving of the Law is afforded
by Jubilees where the covenant
with Noah as regards the eating
of blood is made on the Feast
of Weeks. This covenant is renewed
with Abraham and with Moses on
the same day. Itneeded but a step
for later times to place the covenant
on Sinai also on the same day.
to Jubilees, Isaac was born (xvi.
13), Abraham died (xxii. 1), Judah
was born (xxviii. 15), and Jacob
and Laban bound themselves by
mutual vows (xxix. 7) on the Feast
of Weeks. See Jew. Encyc. v. 374b,
s.v. Festivals (Shabu'ot). The
relation of the Jewish to the
Christian Pentecost with its pouring
out of the spirit as an analogy
to the giving the Law in seventy
languages is obvious.
Charles, The Book of Jubilees,
Frankel, Einfluss der Palästinensischen
Exegese auf die Alexandrinische
Hermeneutik, pp. 136-137, Leipsic,