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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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Rîchård Açévédø June 3, 2017

Thank you! Blessings! Reply

Anonymous Abbotsford June 1, 2017

The best explanation I have heard. Clear. Concise. Inspirational. Reply

Anonymous BH May 31, 2017

I Love Chabad! Reply

Anonymous So Cal May 31, 2017

Thank you very much for helping me to understand about the Shavout with this article. I have many close friends whom I love and cherish that are Jewish, and I am always trying to learn more and better ways to honor and respect. Chabad .org has been super helpful! There is so much to learn! Reply

Reinaldo Pinto Alberto Filho Brasil - Rio de Janeiro - Niterói May 30, 2017

Excellent. Reply

Anonymous May 30, 2017

Just a simple, heart felt, "Thank You", for taking the time to make such a plain and easy to understand, description of the subject. Reply

Anonymous CA May 31, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Here! Here! Reply

Anonymous Omaha May 29, 2017

When I write the name G-d, I leave out the O to indicate I am speaking about the G-d of Israel. If I refer to the gods of other nations I leave the O because I could care less about their idols. I make a distinction when I speak of the One. Reply

Anonymous CA May 29, 2017

Shalom! Good to know. Reply

Aryeh Citron Surfside May 29, 2017

What about flowers etc? Reply

Menachem Posner Chicago May 30, 2017
in response to Aryeh Citron:

Thanks for pointing out that omission. I added it. 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

Mitchell Hein Green Bay May 30, 2017
in response to Frank:

Thank you for taking the time to explain. I would fully agree that a typewritten word on a piece of paper does not represent our Creator, and is closer to superstition than worship.

However, please do not interpret my original question as a means to change how you (or anyone else) should worship. That was not my intent. I am only trying to learn something new.

May you serve our Creator well, as I strive to do in my own way. Be well, and thanks again. Reply Staff via 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

Robert M Braun Mt Laurel NJ May 29, 2017
in response to Staff:

G-d is no more or less Hashem's name than Hashem is. "Don't build fences around fences." Reply

Yocheved Smith May 31, 2017
in response to Staff:

While I am well aware of the prohibition against desecrating G-d's name, I can almost bet that this will never be printed, for me it is more a show of respect for our G-d more than anything else. Reply

Anonymous alabama June 20, 2016

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

Anonymous via May 29, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

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

Mona Chicago May 31, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

I agree with you G-d is sacred & the highest of highest form of respect should be shown to him as our creator. We should not be afraid of him cause he is love, praise be to him in the highest. Have a blessed day. 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

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