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      Archive: 5/15/2013
      02:00
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      News Brief

        5/15/2013, Sivan 6, 5773

      The Shavuot Holiday Begins Tuesday Night. Chag Sameach!


      The Holiday of Shavuot, or Weeks, will begin on Tuesday night and last for one day in Israel and two days everywhere else.

      Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage festivals and in addition to being the day the Ten Commandments were given to Israel by G-d at Mount Sinai, is also connected to agriculture, as it is the holiday when the First Fruits were brought to the Holy Temple.

      Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage festivals when the Israelites were commanded to come to Jerusalem to celebrate in Temple Times. The others are Pesach and Sukkot.

      It falls on the 50th day after the second night of Pesach. Jews the world over count the "Omer", that is the 49 days from that Pesach night until Shavuot, preparing to receive the Torah anew. It is customary to stay awake all night in the synagogue on Shavuot, listening to Torah lectures and studying the "Tikkun leil Shavuot" which has a collection of various portions of the Torah.

      Israeli newspapers advertise lists of lectures in hundreds of synagogues and public auditoriums.

      Customs that characterize the holiday are eating dairy food which, among other things, signify that the Jews did not know the dietary laws until they received the Torah and ate dairy foods. It is customary to place green branches around the synagogue (some rabbis oppose this as copying a Christian custom) and at home.

      The Book of Ruth is read on Shavuot. It occurred during the spring wheat harvest and Ruth accepted Judaism as did the Jews on this day. The complete Hallel prayer is said, the Ten Commandments are read as well as an Aramaic poem about the Torah called Akdamot. It is also a day on which Yizkor, the memorial prayer for parents and other close family members, is said after the Torah reading.

      For more on the holiday, see Arutz Sheva's Judaism section.

      Chag Sameach to the Family of Israel from Arutz Sheva.