Shavuot-celebrating the giving of the Torah

Saturday night we celebrate the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. Shavuot means weeks as it marks the completion of 7 weeks of counting from Passover till Shavuot. It starts on Saturday night and ends Monday night. But since it’s the Sabbath we actually call it a 3 day holiday. On Shavuot we celebrate and commemorate the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It’s a very happy holiday with a few nice traditions. Saturday night, after finishing the meal it’s customary for the men to stay up all night studying the Torah. All the synagogues are full. Some stay all night, some come home after a few hours. The most beautiful place to be is at the Western Wall in Jerusalem which is filled with thousands of people walking there and studying the Torah or praying.

Kotel shavuot

Credit: Im Tirzu

It is customary to decorate the house with lots of flowers and greenery for Shavuot because according to the Midrash (rabbinic literature) Mount Sinai suddenly blossomed with flowers in anticipation of the giving of the Torah on its summit. Some synagogues decorate too.

 My flowers

There is lots to cook as we prepare 6 meals which we eat together as a family which is one of the nicest things of the holidays. Since Torah is compared to milk by King Solomon, who wrote: “Like honey and milk, it lies under your tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11) we have a tradition of baking cheesecakes (of which I am known to have the best recipe of!) and other dairy delectables  Some eat one milky meal and others, like us have a little milky mini-meal (before the main meal) where some dairy dishes are being served like cheesecake, hot milky quiches and delicious cream cakes.

It’s a very special holiday to us as we re-affirm our commitment to G-d and accept the Torah as our truth.

Disclaimer: some text taken from aish.com and Wikipedia.com

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