What is Shavuot?
is the anniversary of
the defining moment of Jewish history: the giving of the Torah
on Mount Sinai just over 3,000 years ago. The drama of the
events at Mount Sinai is well known, the only widely acknowledged
public experience with God in human history:
date was the 6th of Sivan 2448 according to Jewish date or 1312
BCE. "It was the third day, in the morning, that there
was thunder and lightning. A heavy cloud was on the mountain
and there was a very loud sound of the shofar. All the people
in the camp trembled. Moses brought the people toward God out
of the camp. They stood at the foot of the mountain. The entire
Mount Sinai was enveloped with smoke, for God had descended
upon it in fire. Its smoke rose like the smoke of a furnace
and the entire mountain trembled violently ..." (Exodus
begins to give the Ten Commandments, but the Jews panic and
beg Moses to ascend the mountain and accept the teachings on
came and told the people all the words of God. The people responded
with one voice and said, 'All the words that God has spoken,
we will do.' Moses wrote down all the words of God. He arose
early in the morning and built an altar beneath the mountain,
and also twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. He
sent youths of the Sons of Israel and they offered burnt-offerings,
and sacrificed oxen as peace offerings to God. Moses ... then
took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the ears of the
people. They said, 'All that God has spoken, we will do and
we will hear." (Exodus 24:3-7)
about 3,300 years ago, after the exodus of Egypt on the night
of Passover, the Jews traveled into the Sinai desert. There,
the entire Jewish nation - over 3 million men, women and children
-- directly experienced divine revelation:
spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you were hearing the
sound of words, but you were not seeing a form, only a sound.
He told you of His covenant, instructing you to keep the Ten
Commandments, and He inscribed them on two stone tablets."
The giving of the Torah was an event of awesome proportions
that indelibly stamped the Jewish nation with a unique character,
faith and destiny. And in the 3,300 years since this event,
Torah ideals - monotheism, justice, responsibility -- have become
the moral basis for Western civilization.
Shavuot, there are no themes and symbols to distract us from
the central focus of Jewish life. So how do we celebrate Shavuot?
It is a well-known custom to stay up the entire night to study
Torah. And since Torah is the way to self-perfection, the Shavuot
night learning is called "Tikkun Leil Shavuot,"
which means an act of self-perfection on the night of Shavuot.
services on Shavuot morning, we read the Biblical book of Ruth.
Ruth was a non-Jewish woman whose love for God and Torah led
her to convert to Judaism. The Torah intimates that the souls
of eventual converts were also standing at Sinai, as it says:
"I am making [the covenant] both with those here today
before the Lord our God, and also with those not here today."
has a further connection to Shavuot, in that she became the
ancestor of King David, who was born on Shavuot, and died on
a tradition on Shavuot; to decorate the synagogue with beautiful
flowers. This is because Mount Sinai blossomed with flowers on
the day the Torah was given. The Bible also associates Shavuot
with the harvest of wheat and fruits, and marks the bringing of
the first fruits to the Holy Temple as an expression of thanksgiving.
(see Exodus 23:16, 34:22, Numbers 28:26)
we have a popular tradition of eating dairy foods.
There are several sources for this custom.
The Biblical book Song of Songs (4:11) refers to the sweet nourishing
value of Torah by saying: "It drips from your lips, like
honey and milk under your tongue."
The verse in Exodus 23:19 juxtaposes the holiday of Shavuot with
the prohibition of mixing milk and meat.
On Shavuot, we therefore eat separate meals - one of milk and
one of meat. After getting the Torah, the Jews instantly became
obligated in the laws in regarding slaughter of animals. Since
they did not have time to prepare kosher meat, they ate dairy
18 graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butterCrush graham crackers.
Mix ingredients together, and spread on bottom and sides
of 8x11-inch baking pan.
Put in refrigerator.
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese - at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla Mash the softened cream cheese in a bowl.
Add eggs into bowl, one at a time, mixing well after each
Add sugar and vanilla into bowl.
Pour the cheese mixture onto the crust.
Bake at 375-degrees for metal pan, or 350 for pyrex - for
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups (16 oz.) sour creamMix ingredients together, and
spread over baked cake.
Bake at 475-degrees for metal pan, or 450 for pyrex - for
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk or water
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 eggsMix ingredients together.
Heat a thin coat of oil in a frying pan.
Put a thin layer of batter into the pan, until golden brown.
Flip over until the other side is golden brown.
FILLING:16 oz. cottage cheese
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla Filling options:
me, fruit jam, chocolate spread, date spread, etc.
Roll into blintz and enjoy!