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What is Shavuot?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

Library » Holidays » Shavuot » About | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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A. Shavuot (Weeks, pronounced shah-VOO-oat) is a two day Jewish holiday (in Israel only one day) that simultaneously commemorates two things: the reaping of the spring wheat harvest, and the anniversary of the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai on this day in the year 2448 on the Jewish calendar (1312 BCE). Shavuot is celebrated on the sixth and seventh of the Hebrew month of Sivan.

B. Shavuot is one of the three Biblical Pilgrimage Holidays (Shalosh Regalim) at which Jews were required to travel to Jerusalem and celebrate in the Holy Temple. The Torah1 prohibits work on this holiday, during which all Shabbat prohibitions are in force with the exception of preparing food and carrying in public.

C. Shavuot also caps off the Counting of the Omer, the 49-day count which starts with the second day of Passover, the day when the First Barley Offering was offered in the Temple. Though the Temple no longer stands, the Omer must be counted even without the offering.

See also When is Shavuot and How is Shavuot celebrated?

Footnotes

  • 1. Leviticus 23:21
TAGS: shavuos

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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Shavuot
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).
Omer
Starting from the second day of Passover, we count forty-nine days. The fiftieth day is the holiday of Shavuot. This is called the “Counting of the Omer” because on the second day of Passover the barley “Omer” offering was offered in the Holy Temple, and we count forty-nine days from this offering. [Literally, "Omer" is a certain weight measure; the required amount of barley for this sacrifice.]
Sivan
The third month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to May-June. This month features the holiday of Shavuot.
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.