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Can I begin Shavout early like we do on Shabbat?

by Rabbi Simcha Bart

  

Library » Holidays » Shavuot » Laws and Customs | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Question:

Can I begin Shavuot 'early', similar to how is done with Shabbat? [Ed. 'Early' meaning that candles are lit much earlier than sunset, and the night prayers are prayed while yet before nightfall. Once nightfall arrives, the 'Shema' is recited (again) so as to fulfill the requirement of praying Shema at night.]

Answer:

Shavuot may not be brought in 'early'.1 The reason for this is that the Torah2 commands us to count seven complete weeks from Pesach and then observe Shavuot (Shavuot means weeks). if we were to begin Shavuot early it would be seven weeks minus a few hours - in effect then - it wouldn't be Shavuot.

Footnotes

  • 1. Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Orach Chaim 494:2
  • 2. Leviticus 23:15

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Holidays » Shavuot

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.
Shavuot
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).
Pesach
Passover. A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Shema
The most fundamental Jewish prayer, recited twice daily. This prayer, of Biblical origin, professes the belief in G-d's absolute unity.