Shavuot combines two major religious observances.
First is the grain harvest of the early summer. Second is the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt. The first determines the ritual for the holiday, which was one of three pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel, when Israelites males were command to appear before God in Jerusalem, bringing offerings of the first fruit of their harvest.
The second determines the significance of the holiday in Judaism, tying it with the seminal event of Jewish religious memory, namely the entering into a covenant between God and Israel, exemplified by Israel’s assumption of Divine Law.
This is a joyous time, since it is the moment at which God and Israel entered into a figurative marriage with each other, the hopeful springtime of their relationship.
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