Shavuot

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By Louise Tellamteacher and freelance writer

Find out about the Jewish festival of Shavuot when Jews celebrate the giving of the Law to Moses at Mount Sinai

Shavuot

Festival facts: Shavuot

What is Shavuot

Shavuot (also Shauvot) was originally a harvest festival. It was marked with an offering to God of the first fruits gathered as a thanksgiving for the gifts of the harvest. Also known as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Greek for fifty), it took place fifty days after the barley offering at Passover. However, it later became connected with celebrating the giving of the Laws to Moses at Mount Sinai, as this, according to Jews, is the greatest gift of all. These laws, recorded in the Torah, became the basis of the Jewish tradition, essential to the newly formed nation. Celebrations today include offering and sharing harvested produce and a special reading of the Torah.

Why is Shavuot celebrated?

Like many Jewish festivals, Shavuot has its roots in nature and the celebration of fruitfulness as well as in history, the roots of the faith itself, the law. All able-bodied Jews are commanded to celebrate at this time as detailed in Leviticus 23:15 -23 and Deuteronomy 16:9.

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