The Temple Institute wrote,

"Likewise, pilgrims brought the firstfruits from their own fields and orchards, of the seven fruits of the land of Israel mentioned in Deuteronomy: Figs, grapes, dates, pomegranates, olives, wheat and barley."

Then on the next page, the Temple Institute put out an illustration of a seven-tiered basket:

"Special seven tiered baskets" that "were employed to display the firstfruits."

Their explanation of the photo is as follows:

Special seven tiered baskets were employed to display the firstfruits. The fruits were arranged in ascending order of importance: the bottom basket contained barley. This was followed by wheat, olives, dates, pomegranates, and figs. A dove was set on the top.

My question:

Who used the "Special seven tiered baskets" that "were employed to display the firstfruits"? I can't tell, from their explanation, whether these "Special seven tiered baskets" were employed by the priests/Levites and/or the common observant Israelites? Who fashioned these "Special seven tiered baskets"? Were there only two in the Temple? Were there several? How many?

(I'm also interested in some details about the content and arrangement of these baskets and will post additional questions about those, depending on what I learn from answers to this question.)

  • Nina, the folks at the Temple Institute are very friendly, and I'm sure that if you write to them through their contact page they will get back to you with all their sources Commented May 20, 2021 at 11:09
  • @JoshK, so I can forget about this question being answered here at MiYodeya and ask the Temple Institute directly?
    – ninamag
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 12:07
  • 1
    @ninamag I pared down this post to just your first question. Please do consider posting your other questions in additional posts, and cross-linking them with this one. Regarding formatting, it looks like you tried to make blockquotes into links, which failed; I recommend making a single word or phrase into a link instead, as I've done here. Regarding the Temple Institute, I'd encourage you to correspond with them as Joel K suggests, and post their answer here or invite them to.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 13:57
  • @IsaacMoses Thank you.
    – ninamag
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 15:46
  • @ninamag I am by no means kicking you off the site! But no one will know the Temple Institute's sources (and potential typos) better than they themselves. I actually saw them conducting a court hearing (they run a Beit Din as well) last year before Corona, it was fascinating Commented May 20, 2021 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


Their source would appear to be Rambam Hilchot Bikkurim 3:7:

The first fruits must [be brought in] a container, as [it] states: 'And you shall place them in a container.' The most preferable way of performing the mitzvah is to bring each type of fruit in a separate container. If one brings them [all] in one container, he has fulfilled his obligation. [Even in such an instance,] he should not bring them mixed together. Instead, he should bring the barley below, wheat on top of it, olives on top of it, dates on top of them, pomegranates on top of them, and figs on the top of the container. There should be a substance, e.g., palm leaves, wild grass, or leaves, or the like, that intervenes between each type of produce. One should surround the figs with clusters of grapes from the outside.

(Touger translation)

(Rambam's source is Tosefta Bikkurim 2:8.)

From the context ('bringing the first fruits'), it seems clear to me that he is discussing the manner in which the pilgrims would bring the bikkurim to the Temple, rather than a method by which the priests would display them.

  • Does "Rambam Hilchot Bikkurim" or the "Tosefta Bikkurim" or any similar rabbinical source mention any "seven tiered basket" as illustrated by Temple Institute?
    – ninamag
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 15:44
  • @ninamag That is what Rambam that I quoted seems to me to be describing: One container, with individual levels for each type of produce, separated by a layer of leaves or grasses.
    – Joel K
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 15:52

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