Shavuot

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Holiday Dates

Also known as the Festival of Weeks, it is the second of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Passover and Sukkot). Agriculturally, it commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits). Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah).

It is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of the giving of the Torah, rather than the time of the receiving of the Torah. The sages point out that we are constantly in the process of receiving the Torah, that we receive it every day, but it was first given at this time. It is the giving, not the receiving, that makes this holiday significant.

It is customary to stay up the entire first night of Shavu'ot and study Torah, and then pray as early as possible in the morning. The book of Ruth is read at this time. Traditionally we eat a dairy meal at least once during Shavu'ot.







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