the harvest season in Israel
& the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments
to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Many people decorate their home & shul
with leaves, flowers & branches for the following reasons
- To remember Mount Sinai where the Torah was given because even though it was a mountain it had plants & trees
- On the 6th day of the month of Sivan, Moses was placed among the river weeds
- On Shavuos we are judged concerning the trees & so we should remember to pray that the trees grow well & healthy
1ST NIGHT OF SHAVUOS
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Shavuos Candle Lighting Brachas For 1st Night
After eating your Yom Tov meal, you study the Torah until dawn
- Learning by yourself
- Learning with friends or members of your synagogue
- Attending lectures by Rabbis & scholars given in your synagogue
- Some study Tikun Lail Shavuos
which consists of quotes from every section
of the written
& oral Torah
Why is it a custom to study the Torah until dawn?
The Midrash says that the Jewish People
slept on the night before Matan Torah
& it was necessary for G-d to wake them up in the morning.
Why did they all sleep on the eve of this most important day?
They knew that at the giving of the Torah, G-d was going to speak to them.
Previously, prophets received prophesy while asleep
- Avraham slept during the covenant with G-d (bris bain habisarim)
- Yaacov slept as he envisioned the ladder
- Yosef's prophecies occurred to him in a dream while he slept
By going to sleep, they thought they were preparing
for the giving of the Torah, Matan Torah
However, this was a mistake
To remedy this mistake,
we now stay awake all night in anticipation
our own receiving of the Torah (Kabbalas HaTorah)
1st DAY OF SHAVUOS
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Everyone, including children,
should hear the Torah reading
of the Ten Commandments in a synagogue
2ND DAY OF SHAVUOS
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Book of Ruth (Megilas Rus) is read in the synagogue because
- The story of Ruth ocured around Shavuos time
- Ruth converted & accepted all the commandments just as we did at Mount Sinai
- King David was born & died on Shavuos & the Book of Ruth tells the story of his ancestry
The memorial prayer (Yizkor)
is recited for departed family members
& charity is contributed in their name before or after the holiday
For more information about Yizkor
Yizkor & Memorial Candles
EATING DAIRY FOODS
People eat dairy foods on Shavuos for the following reasons
- When the Jews received the Torah on Shavuos, they were not ready with utensils for kosher meat preparation, so they ate dairy instead.
- When Moses was pulled out of the water on this day, he would nurse only from a Hebrew
woman & he refused the milk of any other woman.
- The Torah was given to the Jews directly after their Exodus from slavery in Egypt.
This journey is described as one "from the misery of Egypt to a country flowing with milk and honey..." Shemos, Exodus, 3:8-17). So eating dairy on Shavuos commemorates the sweetness of freedom & the new life that lay before the Jewish people.
- The Song of Songs (Shir HaShirim) 4:11 says "milk & honey are under your tongue."
Some have said that the Torah is like the milk in this verse.
Like milk, the Torah sustains us. So a dairy meal on Shavuos celebrates the nourishing quality of the Torah.
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