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The Tabernacle Times
___________________________________________________________________________________________
_______ May 2014 ___________________ Iyyar - Sivan 5774 _________________ Volume 9 Issue 5_______

Shavuot 101

Rabbi & Brenda
by Rabbi Jeremy
& Brenda Storch
  Shavuot, the "Feast of Weeks,” is celebratedfor seven weeks after Passover.

The counting of this period begins on the day after the Sabbath following Passover and goes for exactly 50 days. (Lev. 23:15-16) Hence, following the Greek word for “fifty,” Shavuot is also referred to sometimes as Pentecost. Although its origins are to be found in an ancient grain harvest festival, Shavuot has been identified since biblical times with the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Shavuot combines two major religious observances. First is the grain harvest of the early summer. Second is the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt. The first determines the ritual for the holiday, which was one of the three pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel, when Israelite males were commanded to appear before God in Jerusalem, bringing offerings of the first fruits of their harvest. The second determines the significance of the holiday for Judaism, tying it in with the seminal event of Jewish religious memory, namely
  the entering into a covenant between God and Israel, exemplified by Israel’s assumption of Divine Law.

Shavuot

Since Shavuot is an ancient pilgrimage holiday, it is not surprising that its ritual focuses on the community. Nonetheless, there are a number of customs associated with personal practice. Chief among them is the eating of dairy products on Shavuot. Although the reasons for this custom are not completely clear, it has become traditional to eat milk and cheese products as part of the celebration of Shavuot.
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