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Chaim (Hart) Peikoff

Shavuot - Why is Shavuot different than other Holidays?

by Chaim (Hart) Peikoff, June 7, 2011

On all other holidays we celebrate eight days. On Shavuot we celebrate only two days. On most other holidays we eat chicken soup, chopped liver and roasts, but on Shavuot festival we eat blintzes and cheese cake and other dairy products. We also catch a good sleep on other holidays. On Shavuot it is tikkun study until at least 3 a.m.  And on all other holidays we celebrate our physical redemption.

On the Holiday of Shavuot it is a celebration of Revelation. It is amazing that Shavuot is currently the least known holiday outside of its celebrating community. But that does not make its stature less important. Even though it may be the shortest in duration, it does not lack anything in the way of intensity or heart felt feelings and in its depth of meaning. For those who truly get into this holiday there is a sensation of reenacting an event which occurred some three thousand years ago. This was a mind blowing event that took place, our tradition tells us, fifty days after the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. The happening: Revelation at Sinai and the giving of the Ten Commandments.

This holiday is originally described in the Bible as an agricultural festival - a feast of the summer harvest in our land, Israel. From that day on, Jews were told to count up seven full weeks from one harvest to the other and when this ended they were commanded to celebrate Shavuot which literally means "weeks." In time however, the emphasis of the day shifted from agriculture to history, so that today Jews all over the world, including those in agrarian economies, celebrate the Revelation foremost and the harvest secondary. Shavuot is a wonderful example of the Jewish people’s ability to transform the meaning of a moment, to move from nature to history, from biology to spirit. More over, theJewish people desired to maintain the theological link between Shavuot and Pesach, so that Revelation and Exodus were but two parts of the same experience.
Freedom without Revelation, said the Rabbis, would have been of little significance.  It was actually the completion of this redemptive act with the giving of the Torah that created the Jewish people. The Chabad states the giving of the Torah was a far reaching spiritual event—one that touched the essence of the Jewish soul for all times. Our Sages have compared it to a wedding between G-d and the Jewish people. Shavuot also means “Oaths,” and of this day G-d swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.

This holiday of Shavuot is a two day holiday, beginning at sundown on the 5th of Sivan  (June 7) and lasting until nightfall of the 7th of Sivan. (June 9)

Come join us for a wonderful celebration at the Jewish Learning Centre @ 1845 Mathers Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba 204-414-5624

Tuesday June 7                                      9:16 pm                        Mincha
                                                               10:23 pm   *                   Marriv
Wednesday June 8                              10:00 am                       Shacharis
                                                                11:00 am                      *Reading of Ten Commandments
                                                                                                       Service followed by Ice Cream Party
Thursday June 9                                  10:00 am                        Shacharis
                                                              11:45 am                        (approx.) Yizkor
                                                                9:16 pm                         Mincha
                                                              10:27 pm                         Maariv
* we wait until nightfall to have 7 complete weeks of counting between Pesach & Shavuos
* It is important that every Jew, even very young children, attend to hear how Hashem gave us the Torah.

We all look forward to seeing you on all these days or even one of them.

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