Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SHABUOT: The day we received the Torah (Part 2)

Today is the 5th of Sivan, 5770 (49 days of Omer. 7 weeks)

Tonight we celebrate Shavuot, when we stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai to be appointed as God’s chosen people. Being chosen does not imply that we have more rights, on the contrary, while God gave to humanity 7 commandments He gave us 613.

There are 5 Minhaguim (customs) that most Jews follow on Shavuot (to remember them recall the Hebrew word A /CHA/ R/ I/ T).

A: Akdamot or Azharot. Poems describing the 613 Mitzvot (see yesterday’s HOTD).

CHA: Chalav (milk), the custom to eat dairy food on Shavuot (see yesterday’s HOTD).

R: Rut. During Shavuot we read and study Megilat Ruth. Among the many reasons for reading Rut is that she was a convert and in a sense, by receiving the Torah we also became converts to Judaism. Another given reason is that from Rut we learn the total dependency of the written Torah on the Oral Torah, because by the “letter” of the Torah rut, a Moabite, could not been accepted as a convert.

I: Yerek. Green. Many communities have the custom to decorate their Synagogues with plants and tree branches to remember Mt Sinai. When the Torah was given –we still treasure this image in our genetic collective memory- Mt. Sinai was green , blossoming and flowering. For this reason, in the Persian tradition Shavuot is known as moed gol (the festival of flowers).

T: Tikun. Reparation. We stay awake during the night (Tuesday night until Wednesday morning) studying Torah, to “repair” for our ancestors who went to sleep the night of the sixth of Sivan instead of waiting vigilantly for the giving of the Torah, which was taking place the following morning.

Chag Shavuot Sameach!!!

Watch this inspiring 5 min. video: http://www.aish.com/h/sh/t/48970071.html