Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sophie Hagirafa wishes you Happy Shavouot!

It is Shavouot!

It is the Festival of First Fruits and Grains, a fulfillment of the promise of spring. The name means “weeks”, so named for the 7-week period from Passover to Shavuot.

Shavuot is also a Jewish holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jews.

Miss Ozzie Nog explains the festival in details here but I take the liberty to quote a few of her lines I enjoyed...
Along with Passover and Sukkot, Shavuot was one of the three times during the year when the Israelites made pilgrimages to Jerusalem. On Shavuot they brought two loaves of bread baked from the wheat of the new crop plus samples of the first fruits.
To prepare for the pilgrimage, farmers inspected their crops and tied red threads around any fig, pomegranate or bunch of grapes that looked ripe. These fruits, along with wheat, barley, olives and dates, were then piled into baskets and carried in processions to Jerusalem.

As every festivals in Judaism, food plays a very important part. For Shavouot Dairy is a Must. Why dairy you may ask? I asked "google" and Moses'site gave me the answer:
Dairy foods are associated with the loving, nurturing generosity exemplified by a mother nursing her baby. It is this supreme love that we connect to on the anniversary of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. New beginnings and connecting to the Source is what Shavuot is all about.
But this is not all:
1. Chalav—the Hebrew word for milk—has the numerical value (Gematriah) of 40 reminding us the number of days and nights that Moses remained on Mt. Sinai.
2. One of the eight different names for Mt. Sinai is "Gavnunim," which means white like cheese.
3. The words in the Torah referring to the Shavuot holiday offering are "Minchah chadashah l'Hashem b'shavuotaychem," which are also an acronym for the Hebrew word m'chalav—"from milk."
4. When the Jews received the Torah on Shavuot they were commanded only to eat meat which was ritually slaughtered. Since none of their meat was previously slaughtered and the Torah was given on Shabbat -- when it is forbidden to slaughter animals -- they were forced to eat dairy for the rest of the day.
5. Shavuot is the completion of a spiritual process that we begin on Passover, and their respective holiday offerings represent the stages of this process. At the Passover Seder we have two cooked dishes to commemorate the two offering brought on Passover in the Temple times. To connect the two holidays, we eat two cooked foods on Shavuot as well—one meat and one dairy.
6. Two loaves of bread were offered in the Holy Temple on the holiday of Shavuot. To commemorate this offering we eat two meals on Shavuot; one dairy and one meat (eating meat is mandatory on every festival).
Well I love dairy products all year-long, and in Israel we are spoiled: we find all kinds of dairy and many many cheeses from around the world so this is a great festival to my taste and tummy!

Along with Sophie The girafa, I wish you all  Happy Shavuot!

1 comment:

  1. Happy Shavout Claire et Sophie !