Shavuot at the Y

Hag Matan Torateinu, The Festival of the Giving of Our Torah

Sunday, June 12, 2016

On June 12 and 13 the Y will observe the Jewish Holiday, Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah).

The very name "Shavuot" means "weeks," in recognition of the weeks of preparation and anticipation leading up to the Sinai experience.

Three millennia ago, after the Exodus from Egypt, the Jews traveled into the Sinai desert. There, the entire Jewish nation – 3 million men, women and children -- were given the Torah, a set of laws that promote justice and responsibility.

As Leah Garber of the JCCA describes, “it is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of the giving of the Torah, rather than the time of the receiving of the Torah. The sages point out that it is the giving, not the receiving, that makes this holiday significant. The Torah, the living book and a way of life points out the importance and emphasis of giving.”

On Shavuot, it is customary to eat dairy foods because Jewish tradition compares the words of Torah to the sweetness of milk and honey. Blintzes and cheesecake are among the popular foods that makes the holiday enjoyable.

It is customary to decorate ones home with greens and fresh flowers on Shavuot as a reminder of the flowers blossoming on Mount Sinai the day the Torah was given.

The Y programs have been enriched with the sweetness of the incoming holiday, and both children and adults have enjoyed making and eating blintzes, cheesecakes, and even pastellitos with cheese to celebrate the universal value of giving.