This coming Saturday night May 26th 2012 until Monday night May 28th, we will celebrate Shabu'ot, when we stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai and were appointed as God's chosen people by receiving the Tora.
There are 5 Minhaguim (customs) that most Jews follow on Shabu'ot.
To remember them, keep in mind the Hebrew word A / CHA / R / I / T.
A: Akdamot or Azharot, are poems describing the 613 Mitzvot of the Tora. During Shabu'ot we recite these poems to remember all the Mitzvot.
CHA: Chalab (milk), the custom to eat dairy foods on Shabu'ot (click here to read: Why dairy on Shabu'ot?).
R: Ruth. In Shabu'ot we study Megilat Ruth. Among the many reasons for reading Ruth is that Ruth, from whom King David descends, converted to Judaism. And in a sense, by receiving the Tora we also became converts to Judaism. Another given reason is that from Ruth we learn the dependency of the written Tora on the Oral Tora, because by the "letter" of the Tora 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 Tora 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 Shabu'ot is known as mo'ed gol(the festival of flowers).
T: Tikun (Reparation). We stay awake during the night of Shabu'ot (Saturday night until Sunday morning) studying Tora to repair for our ancestors who went to sleep the night of the sixth of Sivan, instead of waiting diligently for the giving of the Tora, which took place the following morning.
Click here to watch:
Inspiration, why did God
wait 49 days before
giving the Tora?