Time To Keep It Simple serves as a record of my life as a traveler, writer, genealogist, photographer, target sports enthusiast, Rotarian, Mason, Jew, PR professional, and many other (mostly positive) things. In addition to this daily blog I am also the man behind the curtain (not named Oz) at gettingyourphil.blogspot.com and I previously blogged at fromgoytooleh.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Shavuot: An All-Night Torah Party (With Cheesecake)!
And you thought traffic was bad on the highway!
home from lodge last night I passed by numerous people on their way to shul for
the Torah marathon that filled the night. I can’t say that I was one of the
sleep deprived Jews stumbling about this morning. However, it is a great
evening that I would like to take part in at least once in my life. I don’t
look forward to the lack of sleep but the experience is something that
definitely overshadows that.
why are Jews around the world staying up all night? That’s right boys and girls,
it’s time for another Jewish holiday. This week we are celebrating Shavuot!
This holiday is very important and has grown in greater significance in recent
years thanks to the innovations made by Apple because it is on this day that we
celebrate the creation of the tablet. Actually, two tablets. Three if you get your history from Mel Brooks movies.
is a two day holiday in the diaspora (Jews living outside of Israel where it is
only one day) when we commemorate the anniversary of the day G-d gave the Torah
to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai. It is also the day
that marks the conclusion of the counting of the Omer which, if you remember from
our previous blog lesson, is a counting of weeks between Passover (the Exodus)
and Shavuot (the giving of the Torah). Basically, it is a link between when we
were freed from slavery under Pharaoh to when G-d gave us the handbook as to
how we should conduct ourselves in our daily lives.
The Torah was
given by G‑d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai more than 3300 years ago.
Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of G‑d’s gift, and
G‑d “re-gives” the Torah.
The word Shavuot
means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven-week counting period
between Passover and Shavuot.
The giving of
the Torah was a far-reaching spiritual event—one that touched the essence of
the Jewish soul for all times. Our sages have compared it to a wedding between
G‑d and the Jewish people. Shavuot also means “oaths,” for on this day G‑d
swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to
times, two wheat loaves would be offered in Holy Temple. It was also at this
time that people would begin to bring bikkurim, their first and choicest
fruits, to thank G‑d for Israel’s bounty.
The holiday of
Shavuot is a two-day holiday, beginning at sundown of the 5th of Sivan and
lasting until nightfall of the 7th of Sivan. (In Israel it is a one-day
holiday, ending at nightfall of the 6th of Sivan.)
and girls light holiday candles to usher in the holiday, on both the first and
second evenings of the holidays.
is customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot.
men, women and children should go to the synagogue on the first day of Shavuot
to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.
on other holidays, special meals are eaten, and no “work” may be performed.
is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. Among other reasons, this
commemorates the fact that upon receiving the Torah, including the kosher laws,
the Jewish people could not cook meat in their pots, which had yet to be
the second day of Shavuot, the Yizkor memorial service is recited.
communities read the Book of Ruth publicly, as King David—whose passing
occurred on this day—was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite.
those who are less observant it is a time to order pizza (or cheesecake
following a lighter meal), light the candles, and read the Torah for the
evening before we head off to bed to rest for another day at the office in the
morning. It is a great holiday and one of tremendous importance to us all, Jew
and non-Jew alike, and it is one that should serve as a common interest if you
will that we share with other faiths. This is the day we celebrate the moment
when G-d spoke to us all and showed His devotion and compassion for each and
every one of us. This truly is a day to rejoice (not a word I use often).