Feast of Weeks
  • Major Holidays




“[Feast of] Weeks”

What is Shavuot

This holiday is celebrated upon the culmination of counting the “omer” offering from the second night of Passover. It commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. In the Bible it is also called the Holiday of Bikkurim (first fruits). During Temple times, people would bring the first of their harvests to the Temple on Shavuot.

When is Shavuot

Sivan 6

Outside of Israel this holiday is celebrated for an extra day

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Source and Origin of Shavuot

Alternate Names for Shavuot

  • Chag HaKatzir – “The Festival of the Harvest”
  • Zman Matan Torateinu – “The Time of the Giving of Our Torah”
  • Yom HaBikkurim – “The Day of the First Fruits”
  • Atzeret – “The Stoppage” (refers to the prohibition to work on the holiday)

Commandments (Mitzvot) of Shavuot

  • There are no specific commandments relating to the holiday other than abstaining from work

Customs of Shavuot

  • Staying up all night learning Torah – to remedy the shameful mistake of all the Jews who overslept the morning that the Torah was given at Mount Sinai, it is customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot until daybreak the next morning.
  • Eating dairy products – Jewish holiday meals are normally full of meat, which is seen as a delicacy and fit for a holiday. However, on Shavuot, it is customary to eat dairy products, like cheesecake and cheese blintzes, instead. One of the many reasons for this custom is that the Jewish people received the laws of keeping Kosher on Shavuot, which included the commandments to separate between meat and milk and to slaughter animals in a particular way before eating them. The Jews were unable to make their utensils kosher based on these new laws or to slaughter any animals on the holiday, so they just ate dairy instead.
  • Decorating the synagogue with greenery – in many synagogues, it is customary to decorate the sanctuary, and sometimes other parts of the synagogue as well, with greenery. This is to remind people of the miracle that occurred when the Torah was given on a mountain covered in greenery and flowers in the middle of the desert.
  • Reading the Ten Commandments – these are read in the synagogue on the morning of Shavuot as part of the ritual of reading from the Torah. It is considered very important for everyone to come and hear this part of the reading.
  • Reading the Book of Ruth it is customary to read the Book of Ruth before the prescribed Torah reading on the morning of Shavuot. King David was a descendant of Ruth, and Shavuot was the day of his death.

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