What is Shavuot?
June 8 -9, 2019 • 6-7 Sivan, 5779
Shavuot (the Festival of Weeks) combines two major religious observances:
• Agricultural: the wheat harvest of the early summer. One of the three biblical pilgrimage festivals (with Passover and Sukkot) when Israelite males were commanded to appear before God in Jerusalem, bringing offerings of the first fruits of their harvest.
• Historical: the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt. It falls on the 50th day after Passover, concluding the counting of the Omer.
It is customary to:
• Eat dairy food to symbolize the “land flowing with milk and
honey” which was promised to the Israelites. In Song of Songs
(4:11), the Torah’s sweetness is poetically described “like honey
and milk under your tongue.”
• Adorn the home with flowers. According to a midrash, Mount
Sinai suddenly bloomed with flowers when the Torah was given.
• Stay up all night studying Torah.
• Hear the Ten Commandments.