The Tabernacle Times
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May 2014                                    Iyyar - Sivan 5774                                 Volume 9 Issue 5

Shavuot 101

    Sh
Rabbi & Brenda
by
Rabbi Jeremy
and Brenda
Storch


 
Shavuot, the "Feast of Weeks,” is celebrated for 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.



according to rabbinic tradition, is mentioned at the end of Ruth. Another tradition is to participate in an all-night study session marking the holiday.

By associating an ancient holiday of the grain harvest with the exodus from Egypt, Jewish tradition has imbued Shavuot with religious significance derived from the foundational event in Jewish historical consciousness. In the specific case of Shavuot, this takes the form of the entering into a covenant or formal agreement between God and Israel at Mount Sinai. This is a joyous time, since it is the moment at which God and Israel entered into a figurative marriage with each other, the hopeful springtime of their relationship.

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.

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.

Much of the observance of the holiday centers on the synagogue and its rituals. The special reading for the holiday is the Book of Ruth. There are number of reasons for this; among them are that the book takes place at the time of the barley harvest, that Ruth’s assumption of Naomi’s religion reflects the Israelites’ acceptance of the Torah at Sinai, and that King David, who is alleged to have died at this time of year

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Acts 2:1-41 tells us that the Day of Pentecost marked a turning point in the early Christian church as pilgrims had come to Jerusalem from all over the world to celebrate the event.

The 12 apostles were gathered together in a house when a terrific wind came from heaven and filled the place. They saw tongues that looked like fire, that separated and came down on each of them.
Immediately the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, who caused them to speak in tongues. The crowds of visitors were astonished because every pilgrim heard the apostles speaking to him or her in their own foreign language! Some accused the apostles of being drunk.
The Apostle Peter stood and addressed them, saying they were not drunk. It was only nine o'clock in the morning. Then, empowered by the Holy Spirit, Peter preached boldly to them, explaining about Yeshua and God's plan of salvation, to repent and be baptized in the name of Yeshua the Messiah for the forgiveness of their sins. He promised that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

They took the gospel message to heart. About 3,000 people were baptized and added to the fledgling Christian church on that Day of Pentecost. Today, 2,000 years later, believers in Yeshua are still filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to call on him whenever we need strength or guidance.

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The Tabernacle in Branson The Tabernacle is an outreach of Tabernacle of Praise Ministries, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Tabernacle is led by Messianic Rabbi Jeremy Storch and is located in Branson, Missouri. If you have questions or comments, please email us at: info@TheTabernacleInBranson.com. Visit The Tabernacle Website at www.TheTabernacleInBranson.com