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    Leaving a legacy – Shavu’ot

    Shavu’ot practices include bringing to the kohen the bikkurim, the first fruits of the crops, to the accompaniment of mikra bikkurim, a solemn declaration (Deut. 26:1-11).

    Mystics see the bikkurim as symbolic of the human being’s journey through life.

    Since the Israelite who made the declaration announced that he had come to the land which God had given Israel as an inheritance, everyone should seek to spend his or her life endeavouring to attain the goal of the Land of Divine blessing.

    It is customary for people who reach the end of their earthly life to give their possessions to their heirs, but the bikkurim declaration suggests that a person should not only bequeath money and possessions to one’s family and friends but also – at least metaphorically – to leave a legacy to God.

    In one sense this means giving Him a package, as it were, of all one’s good deeds done on earth; in a more material sense it means establishing or enhancing a religious institution.

    If really necessary, a condition can attach to such material legacies that requires the donor’s name to be publicised, though it is better to do the mitzvah without needing a vote of thanks.

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