It wasn’t until High School that I became aware of the holiday of Shavuot, and even then it barely took up any space in my brain much less my calendar. After Passover, and in the hectic flurry of Memorial Day, graduations, and the beginning of summer, Shavuot often gets overlooked.
Because Shavuot is a holiday that has everything!
- Drama: the giving of the 10 Commandments along with fire and thunder on the mountain
- Environmentalism: connection to the land as a harvest festival
- Science Fiction/Fantasy (sort of): from the prophet Ezekial, God’s chariot, the pavement like sapphire… you have to read it to believe it
- Feminism: the book of Ruth
- Memory: Yizkor (Memorial) at the Festival Service
- A Wedding: Shavuot celebrates the Covenant between God and the People of Israel and is seen as a wedding by some mystics
- Rule-breaking: we get to stay up all night long (for Tikkun Leil Shavuot)
- Learning: Torah L’shma, Torah for its own sake as we interact with our text all night long
- Food: the tradition of serving a delicious dairy meal; don’t worry, we’ll always have something for those who are lactose intolerant
What’s not to love about Shavuot, except maybe the poor timing on the calendar?
Temple Emanuel Sinai celebrates Shavuot every year with Tikkun Leil Shavuot and a Festival Service with Yizkor. This year we’ll begin Saturday night at 6:30pm with Kabbalat Shavuot in person, welcoming the holiday with a dairy “snack.” We’ll continue by joining other congregations in our first study session, followed by Havdallah. Then everyone is invited to continue the joint congregational Tikkun Leil Shavuot at home, returning to temple Sunday morning at 10:30 am for our Festival service and Yizkor.
The Shavuot fun doesn’t end there! I recently learned that rainbows have a unique connection to Shavuot as well. (Remember I said that Shavuot is the holiday that has everything?) Our last visiting musician of our series, Shira Kline, will lead a Rainbow Garden Party for our families on Saturday, June 11, at 9:00 am in the patio.
In any case, don’t let Shavuot pass you by unacknowledged! Google it, check out the Shavuot music videos on YouTube, or best of all, join us in celebrating Shavuot at TES. A communal gathering for Shavuot could be exactly what we all need to lift us up after the difficult and sad weeks we’re leaving behind.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach.