Shavuot Refresher

Here is a quick review of the upcoming holiday of Shavuot.

Shavuot is celebrated 49 days or seven shavuot (literally ‘weeks’) after Passover.

On this day, more than 3000 years ago the Torah was given to the children of Israel on Mount Sinai . We celebrate this day as we re-accept and renew our devotion to the Torah.

Many people hold the custom of staying up all night and studying Torah.

It is also customary to read the book of Ruth on this day. There are many reasons for this custom. It is told that King David, the descendant of Ruth died on this day. The story of Ruth took place during this time of year and finally, we make a connection between Ruth, a convert, and the universality of the Torah – that anyone can learn the Torah.

Another widely practiced custom of Shavuot is the eating of dairy products. This commemorates the fact that after receiving the laws of kashrut, the Jewish people could not cook meat in their pots right away. All of their cookware had to be koshered.

Many years ago, it was the custom of many communities to place trees in the synagogue on Shavuot to celebrate the time of year. This practice has been abolished due to the confusion it caused with x-mas!