Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SHABUOT: The Five customs

Tonight we will celebrate Shabuot, when we stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai to be appointed as God's chosen people and receive the Torah.

There are 5 Minhaguim (customs) that most Jews follow on Shabuot. To remember them, keep in mind the Hebrew word A /CHA/ R/ I/ T.

A:Akdamot or Azharot. Poems describing the 613 Mitzvot we received in the Torah.

CHA: Chalab (milk), the custom to eat dairy food on Shabuot (click HERE to read: Why dairy in Shabuot?).

R: Ruth. During Shabuot we study Megilat Ruth. Among the many reasons for reading Rut is that Ruth converted to Judaism. And in a sense, by receiving the Torah we also became converts to Judaism. Another given reason is that from Ruth we learn the dependency of the written Torah on the Oral Torah, because by the "letter" of the Torah, a Moabite, could not been accepted as a convert. Read more about Rut HERE

I: Yerek (Green). Many communities have the custom to decorate their Synagogues with plants, flowers 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 with grass and flowers. For this reason, in the Persian tradition Shabuot is known as moed gol (the festival of flowers).

T: Tikun (Reparation). We stay awake during the night of Shabuot (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.

For times of candle lighting, activities, and prayers for Shabuot in the Mashadi community, see HERE

Click HERE to read THE LAWS OF YOM TOB from Rabbi Obadia Yosef