Why Shavuot is my favorite holiday
But first, it's Yael's birthday!!
Happy happy happy birthday to my partner in crime!! Yael, wishing you a year filled with joy, happiness, and tons of content for our substack.
A great Chassidic master taught that “the day you were born is the day God decided the world could not exist without you.” I for one am very happy that you were born!
Here’s a picture of the two of us reading an article about ourselves… it’s a work of art.
Starting on Saturday night Jews all over the world will begin celebrating the holiday of Shavuot, one of three major Biblical festivals. Here is the tl;dr on Shavuot:
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it… neither have many Jews.
Shavuot marks the day that the Torah was given to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. To read the original story look up Exodus 19- I’m not doing all the work for you!
Shavuot also marks the grain harvest in Israel and was one of the three times a year that the Jewish people made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This practice ended when the Holy Temple was destroyed.
In Orthodox communities, people have the custom to stay awake all night and study Torah in preparation for the next day. I did stay awake all night from the age of 12-22. Now I go to sleep and hope to dream about the Torah. My husband and sons will stay up most of the night.
For a variety of reasons which all require essay-long explanations, it’s customary to eat dairy on Shavuot. This is unusual since all other Jewish holidays are meat and chicken heavy.
Here is why I love Shavuot so much:
It’s a relatively easy holiday with delicious food and beautiful decor. I don’t have to eat matzah or sit in a hut outside. I especially love going to Shul (synagogue) on the first day to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. In our community, it is customary for everyone to attend the reading and to listen to the story of Mount Sinai read out loud. It’s usually packed and there are a million kids and babies. As the Torah reader gets to the part of the 10 commandments a hush comes over the room and the reader belts it out… ANOCHI ADONAI ELOHECHA “I am the Lord your God” (I added the English.. there is no English in our shul!) and without fail, I get chills all over my body. I look around the room and see a people who have been battered and bruised yet continue to show up and cling to the Torah. How many generations before me stood and listened to the same reading? How many generations before me committed once again to living a life that centers the Torah? What can I say, I get emotional about these things!
Please send your comments and questions below.
Here is link for more info on the holiday:
Here is an article that covers three of my favorite topics; the Holocaust, the Torah, and Space