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What Is Shavuot?

What Is Shavuot?

The Holiday When We Re-Accept the Torah


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 (May 30–June 1, 2017). In Israel it is a one-day holiday, ending at nightfall of the 6th of Sivan.

What Shavuot Commemorates

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

The Torah was given by G‑d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai on Shavuot more than 3,300 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 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. Learn more about the Giving of the Torah and what it means to us today.

In ancient times, two wheat loaves would be offered in Holy Temple on Shavuot. 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. Learn about bikkurim here.

How Shavuot Is Celebrated

Click here for more about Shavuot.

Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Anonymous CA May 29, 2017

Shalom! Good to know. Reply

Aryeh Citron Surfside May 29, 2017

What about flowers etc? Reply

Mitchell Hein Green Bay, WI May 25, 2017

Not looking to nitpick, but...
If you are intending to refer to our Creator using the word "G-d", then don't you have the same problem?

The real root of this issue seems to be that humans are struggling with the definition of "desecration".

If I soil and burn a full scale national flag in a public display of protest, it is desecration of that flag. If I accidentally burn a photograph of a flag, is it still desecration?

I would suggest that it is not the physical act of stepping on a piece of paper with the word "GOD" on it that desecrates God's name, but what is in your heart when that action occurs.

If we treat the word "GOD" in this way, aren't we turning that printed page into an idol?

Disclaimer: I'm not trying to be difficult. I'm just exploring an aspect of worship that is foreign to me. Thanks! Reply

Frank St. Augustine FL May 29, 2017
in response to Mitchell Hein:

When I was a child, I was taught to fear Hashem and was instructed to write the name with a dash in place of the "o". For me, Hashem is love and should not be feared as I was taught. I have learned to use Hashem in place of the other term so as not to offend other Jews, but I do not believe that a piece of paper can ever represent Hashem. To me, it is superstitious and symbolizes a fear of rather than a love for the supreme being. I am a Jew, and no person has the right to instruct me how to worship as a Jew or in any other way. Have a nice day. Reply Staff June 21, 2016

re: Spelling of G-d There is a biblical prohibition against desecrating G-d's name, if we write G-d's name out fully and the page is printed and happens to fall on the ground and people step on it or similar occurrences, G-d's name would be desecrated, in order to avoid that we do not spell the Name out fully but spell it "G-d". For more information see here. Reply

Anonymous May 26, 2017
in response to Staff:

Why do you not just say YHVH as He says His name is in the Torah? Reply

Anonymous alabama June 20, 2016

I would also like to know why the O is omitted in God? Reply

Anonymous via May 29, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

You may want to prayerfully reconsider your "us - them" mentality here. Reply

Anonymous May 27, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

The Jews are very careful when making reference to God. This is so because they believe that their G-d is very sacred and very holy and holy. This causes them to, when referring to their G-d, omit the vowels. for example, G-d, YHWH. Reply

Menachem Posner June 15, 2016

RE: "G-d swore eternal devotion to us . . . " You raise a very important point, one that we see throughout Tanach. On one hand, G-d (often through His prophets) warns us multiple times of the many disasters that will befall is throughout the long and bitter exile. Yet, He also assures us that our bond remains whole throughout and that we will ultimately be reconciled. And indeed, despite the terrible things that we have experienced as a people, we are still here, G-d's special people and a living monument to His involvement in human affairs. Reply

Anonymous Johannesburg, South Africa. June 10, 2016

"Shavuot also means “oaths,” for on this day G d swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him."
The following may sound negative but it is something that I have pondered over for many years.
He swore eternal devotion to us Jews. Why then did He allow pogroms to happens and especially the (almost genocide)of Jews by the Nazis in the second world war?
I know that you will answer saying that G-d did not do that - man did. But taking into account the above, why did G-d allow these things to happen? Being all powerful He could have stopped these things from happening - but did not. Reply

Bill First Oro Valley via May 18, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

You are looking for an answer to the holocaust? There is no answer. There is no explanation or solution to this mystery. Did G_d allow this to happen to the Jews? Do you believe in G,_d? Is there a god in the world? Or maybe not. Will mashiach come and we will understand? Reply

Sher Bond Paris, Texas May 23, 2015

Shabbat Shalom and a Special Shavout Blessing from Paris, Texas! Reply

Anonymous May 23, 2015

Very enlightening! The first blog that has all positive comments ! I am going to go lite a candle now ....GDN Reply

Eugina Giovanna Herrera New York City, New York May 21, 2015

The giving of the Torah May it continue touching our souls with one G-d always.

Thank you for sharing this! Reply

Menachem Posner Montreal 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. Reply

Anonymous Vancouver BC Canada 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? Reply

Anonymous belfast May 5, 2014

What's up with the o's on god Reply

Joseph Matthews Cambodia 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.. Reply

Anonymous cape town, africa June 5, 2012

Wow thank you so much Reply

Anonymous Kno, Tenn via 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? Reply

Jonathan bogota, colombia 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. Reply

Judith Sinclair North York, Ontario May 25, 2012

Four Hundred years of slavery in Egypt? Not according to your time line.

What is true? Reply

Dian May 22, 2012

Good information what an interesting revelation. We don't have any information of this in our Bible, so it's really wonderfully interesting! Thank you for sharing this with everyone. G-d bless you for this. Reply

Judge Dana Levitz Lutherville , Md. May 19, 2012

Shavout Explaination Thanks for the simple,to the point, explaination of the meaning of Shavuot and the important customs associated with it. Reply

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