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What Is Shavuot?

What Is Shavuot?

Re-accept the Torah


The Torah was given by G‑d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai more than 3300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of G‑d’s gift, and G‑d “re-gives” the Torah.

The word Shavuot means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot.

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,” for on this day G‑d swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.

In ancient times, two wheat loaves would be offered in Holy Temple. It was also at this time that people would begin to bring bikkurim, their first and choicest fruits, to thank G‑d for Israel’s bounty.

On this day G‑d swore eternal devotion to us, and we pledged everlasting loyalty to Him

The holiday of Shavuot is a two-day holiday, beginning at sundown of the 5th of Sivan and lasting until nightfall of the 7th of Sivan. (In Israel it is a one-day holiday, ending at nightfall of the 6th of Sivan.)

  • Women and girls light holiday candles to usher in the holiday, on both the first and second evenings of the holidays.
  • It is customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot.
  • All men, women and children should go to the synagogue on the first day of Shavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.
  • As on other holidays, special meals are eaten, and no “work” may be performed.
  • It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. Among other reasons, this commemorates the fact that upon receiving the Torah, including the kosher laws, the Jewish people could not cook meat in their pots, which had yet to be rendered kosher.
  • On the second day of Shavuot, the Yizkor memorial service is recited.
  • Some communities read the Book of Ruth publicly, as King David—whose passing occurred on this day—was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite.

Click here for more about Shavuot.

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Discussion (41)
May 23, 2015
Shabbat Shalom and a Special Shavout Blessing from Paris, Texas!
Sher Bond
Paris, Texas
May 23, 2015
Very enlightening! The first blog that has all positive comments ! I am going to go lite a candle now ....GDN
May 21, 2015
The giving of the Torah
May it continue touching our souls with one G-d always.

Thank you for sharing this!
Eugina Giovanna Herrera
New York City, New York
May 25, 2014
RE: Laws of Shavuot
With very few exceptions, both days of the diaspora Shavuot have identical yom tov status. As such, we may not drive or do other melachot (forbidden acts) on the second day.
Menachem Posner
May 25, 2014
Laws of Shavuot
Do both days of Shavuot (outside of Eretz Israel) have the status of "yom tov"? If not, is it ok to drive on the second day of the holiday?
Vancouver BC Canada
May 5, 2014
What's up with the o's on god
May 14, 2013
Simple but an impressive explanation of Shavuot .Ten Commandments have always been considered the First Law on the planet. And it has been reverend by all the mainstreams religions in the world. Shavuot means weeks, but it also means Oaths. A scared oath between The God and the Man-kinds till eternity, amen..
Joseph Matthews
June 5, 2012
Wow thank you so much
cape town, africa
May 26, 2012
Shavuot Offering
I was wondering does the Shavuot Offering have to reach the intended place of donation by the day that Shavuot is celebrated to receive God's blessings or is it considered received on the date it is released to be sent to receive the blessings?
Kno, Tenn
May 25, 2012
Blessings for your work
Thank you very much for all the useful information, in some minutes I will light the candles. Blessings from Bogota, Colombia.
bogota, colombia
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