Issue 6: Shavuot

Shavuot is celebrated from the sixth day of Sivan (June 4-6 this year). The holiday was originally celebrated as one of the three pilgrimage festivals of the Jewish calendar. During Shavuot, men were expected to come to the temple with ten percent of their yearly barley harvest and present it as an offering. However, after the Second Temple was destroyed, there was a need to change the observance of the holiday. Ever since then we celebrate by reenacting the receiving of the Torah, known as Tikkun Leyl Shavuot. The tradition is to stay up all night learning the Torah, spurred by the energy of revelation and the joy of learning. Just like most other Jewish holidays, Shavuot is not complete without classic holiday food. In this case, cheese blintzes are a holiday staple but any form of dairy product is welcome. 

“Although we may be sleep-deprived, we can have fun learning and be appreciative of the wisdom of the Torah.”

It’s strange that during a time when summer beings and the trudge of the school year is over, we celebrate with a lovely all-nighter. Initially, the idea of spending your whole night studying may seem more like a punishment than a holiday. However, this is meant to be more similar to a slumber party. Although we may be sleep-deprived, we can have fun learning and be appreciative of the wisdom of the Torah. There is a hope that amidst your sleep deprivation, you can increase your chances of having a revelatory spiritual experience. Because of this altered state, you may have the opportunity to transform your experience with G-d to more closely resemble G-d’s connection to our Prophets. If you’re like me, you’ve never pulled an all-nighter (regardless of whether or not it was to study Torah). I encourage all of you to spend this Saturday, June 4th attempting this joyous feat and to have your fair share of revelations.