The Chag (Jewish Holiday) of Shavuos

The Chag (Jewish Holiday) of Shavuos

This is an edited copy of an article that I wrote in a previous year in a different blog before the Chag, Jewish holiday, of Shavuos, in the category Jewish Holidays.

Judaica Shavuos Kiddush Cup

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Jewish Holidays: Shavuos 2010

The next Jewish holiday coming up in the Jewish calendar, one of the full fledged Jewish Holidays, is Shavuos (2010), which falls on May 18 this year from sunset until nightfall on May 19th.

Shavuos mainly celebrates the day when historically the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Addtionally, like with all of the holidays according to Jewish beliefs, the spiritual illumination that was then repeats itself every year, such that Shavuos is also a day when we re-receive the Torah, both on a national level, and additionally every individual according to his sensitivity and according to his preparation.

We Read the Megillah of Ruth On Shavuos

One of the highlights is that we read the Megillah of Ruth on Shavuos. There are several explanations brought down to explain the connection between Shavuos and the Megillah of Ruth:

When we received the Torah, that constituted to a certain extent a kind of a conversion, in the sense that before the giving of the Torah we were only obligated to keep the seven Commandments that the A’lmighty expects and requires from all humanity, but when we received the Torah we became obligated in all 613 Commandments. This is similar to Ruth, who converted to Judaism and took upon herself all of the commandments.

Additionally, what we really gained at Mount Sinai was 606 commandments, since we were already obligated before then in seven. 613 minus seven equals 606. The gematria, the numerical equivalent, of Rus (Ruth) is 606.

Additionally we only received the Torah via a certain preparation which is what a convert goes through: Bris Mila, immersion in a Mikve, etc. We say to Ruth, so to speak, who was the mother of royalty, “We all were also converts at that time”.

The setting for the story of Ruth was in the barley harvest season. Shavuos falls during the harvest season.

To show that accepting Torah takes self-sacrifice, even sometimes to the extent of suffering and poverty.

The Megillah of Ruth talks about the lineage of King David, who was born and passed away on Shavuos.

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Boruch Rappaport

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