Prepared by Rabbi Stephen Texon
On Shavuot, we celebrate the giving of Torah. God brought us out of slavery so that we might be given the gift of Torah, which in turn we would share with the world.
The reading for this day includes the Ten Commandments, re-enacting this climactic moment in Jewish history and establishing the covenantal relationship between God and the Jewish people.
On both days of Shavuot, two Torah scrolls are removed from the Ark. On the first day, in the first scroll, we read Exodus 19 and 20, which tell of the giving of the Ten Commandments. In the second scroll, we read Numbers 28:26-31, which tells of the special sacrificial offerings for Shavuot in biblical times. The Yizkor memorial prayer service takes place on the second day of Shavuot.
It is traditional for the Book of Ruth to be read on Shavuot. The story of Ruth takes place during the harvest, which reminds us that Shavuot is also a Festival, when our ancestors brought the first fruits of the harvest to the Temple. Ruth, by converting to Judaism, reminds us that each of us makes the choice to accept Torah into our lives.
Our rabbis tell us that in every generation, each person should consider himself or herself as having personally received the Torah on Mount Sinai.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Shavuot Sameach!
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