By Dahlia Fisher – May 28, 2020
This evening at sundown Jews all over the world will celebrate a holiday called Shavuot also known as “feast of weeks” which commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people.
“The Torah was given by G-d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai on Shavuot more than 3,300 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,” explains Chabad.org on its website, where you can also watch a video that pretty simply breaks down the meaning of this lesser known but important holiday, noting “Shavuot easily makes it into the top five biblical holidays.”
If Shavuot isn’t a holiday you traditionally celebrate, here are four reasons why we think you’ll be adding it onto your list of all-time favorites.
Holidays and food go hand in hand. So, when someone says Shavuot, the first thing we think of is the giving of the Torah, but the second thing that comes to mind is cheesecake! Why? We checked in with Kosher food blogger Giroa Shimoni on TheSpruceEats.com who wrote, “It is customary to eat dairy food on Shavuot for a number of reasons. One reason is that Shavuot is linked to the Exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land, and it is written ‘From the misery of Egypt to a country flowing with milk and honey…’ (Exodus 3:8-17).”
Decorate with Fresh Cut Flowers
Honor Shavuot with a simple gesture like adding a bouquet of fresh cut flowers onto your kitchen table. According to ReformJudaism.org, “The custom of decorating with greens and fresh flowers on Shavuot reminds us of the spring harvest and the ancient ritual of bringing the first fruits to the Temple. The decorations also remind us of the legend that when the Israelites arrived at the base of Mount Sinai, they found it blooming with flowers and greenery.”
Take a Hike
Just as Moses climbed Mt. Sinai, you can hike nearby nature trails as part of your own spiritual journey. A few years ago, The Times of Israel featured how Living Tree Alliance, a modern kibbutz-inspired community in Vermont planned to celebrate Shavuot which included a mountain hike, “The group will hike on Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest mountain, stopping along the way for seven readings of poetry and other texts to reflect the seven divine attributes referenced in Jewish mysticism.”
Participate in an Online Shavuot Festival
Once we heard what Living Tree Alliance was doing in Vermont a few years ago, we had to see what they’re up to today. And, as expected, they did not disappoint. This year due to COVID-19 the group is practicing social distancing and rather than bringing people together in person, they are reimagining Shavuot in partnership with the Jewish Communities of Vermont. They are offering an online three day festival with prayer, meditation, music, crafts and more, all for free.
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