Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chag Shavuot sameach

It's the Festival of Weeks, or Shavuot, sometimes known as Pentecost. Traditionally, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai about seven weeks after leaving Egypt, and this is that holiday. A few days after arriving, they and Moses hear the Decalogue, then Moses ascends the mountain to receive the rest of the Torah.

They didn't eat blintzes in the wilderness, but it is traditional to eat dairy foods and put out flowers. Shavuot is also an agricultural festival, marking the harvest of the winter grain and the end of the Omer count, and like Passover and other holidays, it has its own special book, the Book of Ruth. The book alludes to the winter harvest - and its heroine, Ruth, is a convert. All of Israel "converted" to Judaism, as it were, at Sinai. Ruth is also the great-grand-mother of David - something messianic in the air here ....

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