SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - Shavuot celebrates the harvest season in Israel and the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. It is customary to eat dairy food on Shavuot for a number of reasons.
Jeff Rembrandt, the Assistant Executive Director of The Jewish Community Center in Springfield, shared more about this Jewish holiday and made a traditional cheese blintz.
Springfield Jewish Community Center
1160 Dickinson Street
For more information call (413) 739-4715 or visit SpringfieldJCC.org .
What is Shavuot
Shavuot is the Hebrew word for "weeks" and refers to the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, which occurs seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and actively choosing to participate in Jewish life.
In modern times, Jews no longer bring the first fruits of their harvest to the Temple in Jerusalem, and thus there are no particular mitzvot, or commandments, associated with Shavuot. There are, however, several rituals that are traditional components of celebrating the holiday.
Many people stay up all night, or late at night studying Torah. This custom evolved from the story that says that when the Israelites were at Sinai, they overslept and had to be awakened by Moses. As a result, many modern Jews stay up all night or late at night to study and celebrate receiving the Torah. the custom of studying with a community in order to re-experience standing at Mount Sinai, where the Jewish people received the Torah. was developed by 16th century mystics in Safed, who believed that by studying on Shavuot, they were symbolically preparing Israel to enter into a sacred relationship with God.
Modern interpretations and versions of this practice include study on a wide range of topics.