Shavuot – a holiday with many meanings – WZO

Shavuot – a holiday with many meanings

Today, June 11, marks the beginning of the Shavuot festival, which will continue until sunset on June 12. Shavuot is one of the three major Jewish festivals (the other two are Passover and Sukkot). History tells us that on the 50th day, exactly seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt, the Jews came to Mount Sinai, where they received the Tablets of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments, containing the foundations of all human morality.

Photo: tomert/

Shavuot is also called the Festival of Harvest and First Fruits. This meaning is associated with the completion of another agricultural cycle and the beginning of a new season. In Israel, by this time, wheat, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates are ripe. Traditionally, on Shavuot, it is customary to give children baskets of fruit.

Every festival in Israel has its own flavor. Rosh Hashanah – apples with honey, Passover – matzah, and the distinctive feature of the meal on Shavot – dairy dishes. According to tradition, having received the Torah and returned to Sinai, the Jews ate only dairy food. Milk, cottage cheese, and cheese are the main ingredients from which dishes are prepared for the festive table.

The festival of Shavuot is associated with a custom that arose after the Six-Day War in 1967, when Jews for the first time in many years gained access to the Temple Mount. Since then, thousands of Jews participate annually in a procession to the Western Wall on Shavuot.

Finally, another aspect of the Shavuot festival is the beautiful love story of the simple Moabite woman Ruth to the people of Israel. On Shavuot, it is customary to read the Book of Ruth in synagogues. “Your people are my people, your God is my God,” these words of Ruth have become a symbol of unwavering loyalty and openness to the new. The fate of Ruth, who became the great-grandmother of the great King David, serves as an example for those who, not being born Jewish, choose the fate of the Jewish people.

11 Jun 2024
1 min read
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