Tuesday, May 18, 2010



Tonight at sundown starts the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (weeks), which commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the Israelites assembled at Mount Sinai.

Shavuot always occurs 50 days after Passover. On Passover, the Jews became physically free of slavery...on Shavuot, they became spiritually liberated by G-d's Torah.

Actually, it was the second edition of the Torah, as the first time Moses came down from the mountain bearing the tablets of the Law,the Jews were busy indulging in the worship of the Golden Calf. That made Moses so angry he smashed the first edition on the ground, returned back up the mountain and after a suitable conversation with G-d returned with a replacement.

When Moses returned, the chastened Jews gathered around him, heard him proclaim the Law, agreed to accept it and become a nation committed to serving G-d.

Shavuot, like many Jewish holidays also has a harvest connotation. It was the time of the wheat harvest, and traditionally a time of celebration when Jews would bring the offering of the offering of the First Fruits to the Beyt Hamikdosh (Holy Temple)in Jerusalem.

So, what goes on during Shavuot? Study and dairy,my friends.

It's traditional to consume dairy products during the holiday, so cheese blintzes, pizza, lasagna and similar treats are served in many Jewish homes at this time.

Another tradition is the All Nighter, a study session of Talmud, Mishna and Torah that lasts until sunrise. The really hard core celebrants will do this in a minyan at a synagogue, capped off with a sunrise prayer service.

In Jerusalem, it's traditional to finish off the all night study session by walking to the Kotel before dawn and joining the sunrise service there.


Another tradition in many synagogues is a reading of the Book of Ruth, the story of one of Judaism's most famous converts. By accepting the Torah, Ruth showed her desire to become part of the Jewish people and thus became a symbol of the Jew's acceptance of the Torah at Sinai.

There's a Jewish tradition that the soul of every Jew living today was present at Mt. Sinai, signed on to the deal and is still bound by that covenant.

Chag Shavuot Sameach!

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louielouie said...

blintzes, pizza, lasagna and similar treats are served in many Jewish

the gentiles at my house celebrate Shavuot at least once a week................
all kidding aside, happy Shavuot.

Dymphna said...

wonderful picture.

I love to read and re-read Ruth.