1. The students should understand the connection between Pesach and Shavuot.

(a) Pesach symbolises physical emancipation, Shavuot spiritual emancipation.
(b) The purpose of the Exodus was to bring the people of Israel to Sinai for the Revelation, where the people received the Torah from the Creator and Ruler of the world.

2. The students should know what the Counting of the Omer is, when we count, how many days, and why.

3. The days of the Counting of the Omer were happy days of expectation, looking forward to the Festival of the Giving of the Torah. But, since the death of 12,000 pairs of Rabbi Akiva's students, they have become days of mourning.

4. The students should distinguish between the Omer offering of barley brought on the second day of Pesach (so that the produce of the coming harvest should be blessed) and the offering of two loaves made of wheat brought on Shavuot (so that the fruit on the trees should be blessed).

5. The students should distinguish between the bikkurim of two loaves of bread on Shavuot on behalf of the public (Leviticus 23:16-20), and the bikkurim (first produce) brought by the individual (Exodus 23:19 and 34:26, Deuteronomy 26:1-12), at a convenient time after Shavuot.

6. The students should be aware that the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai has been fixed as a day of celebration, and does not count as a day of mourning during the counting period.

7. On the day when G-d gave Israel the Torah, He made an eternal contract with them.






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05 Jan 2006 / 5 Tevet 5766 0