Shavuot (a two-day holiday, will be celebrated from sunset on June 4, 2022 until nightfall on June 6, 2022). 

Like many Jewish holidays, Shavuot began as an agricultural festival.  It celebrated the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem other referred to as the “first fruits” of their harvest.  It is also referred to as the The Feast of Weeks,” referring to the seven weeks in which the Israelites traveled from Egypt to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah 

Biblically Shavuot is rooted in the Book of Ruth, (Ruth 1:16–17,)  which  is read during services on Shavuot.  Just quickly, the theme of Ruth’s conversion to Judaism is the essential elements of this story.   Ruth,  a young Moabite woman married an Israelite man, her husband dies.  She decides to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, back to Israel.  Here she adopted the Jewish faith and people as her own. She would later remarry Boaz, a rich land owner and it is noted that among their descendants is the famed King David. 

“Ruth is often considered to be the archetype of all who choose to convert to Judaism – accepting the Torah, just as Jews accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai – and Ruth 1-16-17 is generally understood as her conversion statement.” 

How is the day observed 
Many Jews follow the custom of decorating with greens and fresh flowers as a means to remember the spring harvest and the ancient ritual of bringing the first fruits to the Temple.  There is a legend that when the Israelites arrived at the base of Mount Sinai, they found it blooming with flowers and greenery.  As always Women and girls light the holiday candles on the first and second evenings.  It is considered a “no work” holiday.  For some, it is often customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night.  Then go to the synagogue to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.  In some communities the Book of Ruth is read as this is the day that King David is considered to have passed away. 

Often Yizkor, a special memorial prayer for the departed, is recited in the synagogue on the second day of Shavuot.  “Yizkor, in Hebrew, means “Remember.” It is not only the first word of the prayer, it also represents its overall theme. In this prayer, we implore Gd to remember the souls of our relatives and friends that have passed on. 

When we recite Yizkor, we renew and strengthen the connection between us and our loved one, bringing merit to the departed souls, elevating them in their celestial homes. 

The main component of Yizkor is our private pledge to give charity following the holiday in honor of the deceased. By giving charity, we are performing a positive physical deed in this world, something that the departed can no longer do. 

The soul gains additional merit if the memory of its good deeds spurs loved ones to improve their ways.” 

 In the food category overall you will find many of the family gatherings are based around dairy foods -often cheesecake or blintzes –  This is to remind us of the sweetness of Torah refers to the Biblical reference found in Exodus 3:9 that refers to Israel as a land “flowing with milk and honey”. 

 Sources:  This article was compiled from Information found on  

https://refhttps://www.britannica.com/biography/Ruth-biblical-figureormjudaism.org/ 

https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/shavuot/shavuot-customs-and-rituals 

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/shavuot-101/ 

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/609663/jewish/What-Is-Shavuot-Shavuos.htm 

Add Your Comment