Today is the first day of Spring. Is there any connection to this week's sedra, Vayikra?
At first blush, all you can find are lengthy descriptions of the various types of sacrifices. There doesn't seem to be anything related to the seasons of the year.
But, when you pay attention to the words, you will find the Hebrew word for Spring - aviv:
וְאִם תַּקְרִיב מִנְחַת בִּכּוּרִים לַיהוָה--אָבִיב קָלוּי בָּאֵשׁ, גֶּרֶשׂ כַּרְמֶל, תַּקְרִיב אֵת מִנְחַת בִּכּוּרֶיךָ
If you bring a grain offering of the first fruits to the Lord, you shall bring new ears parched with fire, grits of the fresh grain, as your grain offering of the first fruits (Leviticus 2:14).
So the new ears of the grain are called "aviv." How did we get from here to the modern-day meaning of Spring?
We have to go back to the Plague of Hail to discover that "aviv" actually means in Biblical Hebrew a "barley ear."
In the Plague of Hail, the Torah describes the damage that was done to agriculture, and differentiates between types of harvests - one that was ruined because it already ripened and hardened, and one that was spared because it ripens late:
וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה וְהַשְּׂעֹרָה, נֻכָּתָה
כִּי הַשְּׂעֹרָה אָבִיב, וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה גִּבְעֹל
.וְהַחִטָּה וְהַכֻּסֶּמֶת לֹא נֻכּוּ כִּי אֲפִילֹת הֵנָּה
Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in the bud, but the wheat and the emmer were not hurt, because they ripen late. (Exodus 9:31-32)
Because the barley ear ripens at this time of the year, this month became known as the Month of Aviv, and later it came to mean the entire season of spring.
So all of you who have the name Aviv or Aviva or any derivative - now you know how special you are, and what a history your name has!