Bringing Bikkurim (First Fruits)


This is a lesson plan provided by the National Library of Israel.

It’s the first century BCE.  You are on your way to Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot.  What does that look like?  What are the rituals which you need to observe?  What are ‘bikkurim” and what do you do with them?  While celebrating the Torah, decorating our homes and synagogues with flowers, and eating dairy are some of the traditions we associate with Shavuot, Jews of the 2nd Temple period would not be able to identify with how we celebrate the festival today.  How did the observance of Shavuot evolve over time? How and why did the early Zionist settlers and their children transform the holiday?  Through havruta study of primary sources, learners have the opportunity to understand what was involved in bringing one’s first fruits (“bikkurim”) to the Temple and to put themselves in the shoes of the people who brought their bikkurim to Jerusalem during that time.  An analysis of the posters presented in this resource enables the learners to compare and contrast the Shavuot described in the classical sources with the Shavuot as celebrated by the more secular Zionist pioneers.  Finally, A “You Are There” activity invites the learners to write a journal entry recounting their journey to Jerusalem with their bikkurim during Temple times.

The learners will:

  1. understand why depictions of celebrating Shavuot evolved over time


  1. know what Second Temple period celebration of Shavuot involved, what bikkurim are and what one did with them, and how and why many of today’s Jews celebrate the holiday differently
  2. be able to imagine being back in the Second Temple period and to write a creative piece about their experiences bringing the bikkurim to Jerusalem.
About the National Library and its educational materials:

The mission of the National Library of Israel is to provide a home for  items of national, historic or cultural significance. Each of these primary sources serve as unique entry points into the collective memory of the people of Israel as well as the Jewish people worldwide.

The education department at the library curates the collection of primary sources and uses them as windows into the past; to foster a deeper understanding of Jewish history, and to enable learners to personalize and connect to earlier events.


When you click on the National Library of Israel resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:


  1. A group activity to open the lesson and engage the learners.
  2. Discussion ideas and/or questions that are designed to get the learners thinking more deeply about the content.
  3. A creative activity that gives students the opportunity to go beyond learning and analyzing, to crafting something new, that personalizes how they relate to the  primary sources featured in the resource.
  4. The primary sources in this resource have individual links (listed in Expand your horizons below) that provide expanded information. In addition there are nuanced discussion questions that will enable students in small groups to engage independently and effectively in the process of  observing, interpreting, and connecting to the primary sources.

    Link to the lesson plan:
    Bringing Bikkurim (First Fruits)

Student handouts, computer, projector

Welcome to UnitEd's new website!

Our website is just starting its journey,  and we'll be adding new content, features, and resources regularly.

We invite you to return to our website and follow its growth!