The Celebration of Shavuot
The Jewish calendar has many holidays. One of the most important but not as well known is the holiday of Shavuot.
Shavuot celebrates the day we received the Torah. The day is also known as Shavuos or as the Pentecost.
Shavuot falls on different days each year. It is seven weeks after Passover. There are 49 days between the Jewish holidays of Passover to Shavuot.
The Torah was giving to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. This holiday also commemorates the grain harvest for the summer. Shavuot was one of three pilgrimage festivals. During biblical times, Jewish men would go to Jerusalem to bring their first fruits as offerings to God.
Now we celebrate Shavuot by going to the synagogue to hear the 10 commandments. Families can have festive meals of dairy foods and staying up all night reading the Book of Ruth.
The reason we celebrate with dairy food is to understand that before we received the Torah we were innocent like newborn babies. Since babies survive on milk, we eat dairy products during this meal. (Those who can’t eat dairy products can substitute dairy free options)
Staying up all night is to correct the mistakes of our ancestors. It was said that when the Torah was supposed to be given, those Jews accidently overslept. Now we stay up late to show we are excited to spend this time learning the Torah.
We read the Book of Ruth because she is one of the most famous converts to Judaism. She converted after the death of her husband. Ruth later marries Boaz and becomes an ancestor of King David whose bloodline the Messiah will be a descendant of.
This year Shavuot will start at sunset on Saturday June 4th and will continue till the evening of Monday June 6th. To help you prepare for your celebration, here is a link for some meals to make your Shavuot special!