Chag Sameach: The Torah´s Holiday Starts Saturday Night (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Arutz Sheva Staff 05/26/12)
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The Jewish holiday of Shavuot is set to begin Saturday night
adjoining the Sabbath – lasting for its one Biblical day (from sunset
to the next sunset) in Israel, and two days in the rest of the world.
Arutz Sheva is closed from Friday afternoon Israel time for the
holiday and wishes you a Chag Sameach--happy holiday!
Shavuot (Pentecost, Feast of Weeks), as well as Pesach (Passover) and
Sukkot (Tabernacles), are the three pilgrimage festivals on which
Jews are bidden to visit Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of people are
in fact expected to arrive at the Western Wall throughout Saturday
night and Sunday morning, though the Biblical commandment to visit
Jerusalem on these days applies fully only when the Holy Temple is
The current custom of gathering at the Wall for the holiday began
spontaneously on the Shavuot holiday of 1967 (5727), which followed
the Six Day War and the liberation of Jerusalem by only a few days.
Realizing that masses of people would descend upon the Wall and its
narrow walkway, the authorities razed the old buildings within 100
meters from the Wall in order to make room. It was the first holiday
in 1,900 years in which throngs of Jews congregated at the Western
The holiday of Shavuot marks the Jewish People´s receiving of the
Torah at Mt. Sinai 3,323 years ago, as the rabbis calculated that
this was the day. It also marks the day after the 49-day Sefirat
HaOmer counting period, which begins on the Passover holiday. The
counting denotes the fact that the ultimate purpose of the Exodus
from Egypt was for the Jewish People to receive the Torah and begin
its national/spiritual existence as the People of the Book.
Features of the joyous Shavuot holiday include:
* remaining awake all night to study Torah; known as Tikkun Leil
* the bringing of the Bikurim (First Fruits) to the Holy Temple
(temporarily suspended, until the Temple is rebuilt); greenery is
placed arund the home and synagogue to recall this.
* the time of the wheat harvest;
* the public reading of the Book of Ruth for several reasons, among
them: Ruth accepted Judaism as the Jews did on the holiday, the story
takes place during the Shavuot season, and King David, her
descendant, died on Shavuot.
* a wide-spread custom of eating dairy foods on Shavuot, as the Torah
is compared to "milk and honey under the tongue".
In Israel, Shavuot is a legal holiday. There is no public
transportation; schools, offices and most stores are closed;
newspapers are not published. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 05/26/12)
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