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(May 15-16, 2013)

    Our prayers refer to Shavuos as the "time of the giving of our Torah," the time when millions of Jews surrounded Mount Sinai and heard the voice of God proclaiming the Ten Commandments. It was only then that the exodus from Egypt took on meaning, because when Moses asked God why the Jews deserved to be freed from slavery, the answer was that they would be prepared to accept the Torah on the very mountain where God first appeared to the future redeemer.

    The word Shavuos means "weeks," because the Torah does not give a calendar date for the festival; rather the Torah says merely that the people should begin counting seven weeks, beginning on the second day of Pesach, and the fiftieth day would be Shavuos. Those days of counting were a time of tingling expectation as a whole nation prepared itself to be worthy of that overwhelming spiritual experience.

    There is no ritual specifically associated with Shavuos — no matzah, no shofar, no esrog — the Torah is enough, so it is customary to study Torah for most, or even all, of the first night of the festival. As the Talmudic sage Rabbi Yose said, "If not for this day, there are many Yoses in the marketplace," i.e., only the Torah makes Jews unique!

Browse our best-selling Shavuos titles:
Shavuos: Its Observance, Laws, And Significance
Commentaries on the Book of Ruth
Aseres Hadibros / The Ten Commandments
Shavuos With Bina, Benny, And Chaggai Hayonah
Shavuos – general reading
Shavuos – Machzorim / holiday prayer books

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