Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv
'Girls of Israel used to walk out to find a groom, wearing white dresses' (illustration)
Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv

Celebrating gift of Torah to Jewish people

Why does one wear white clothes, eat dairy on Shavuot? JN1 explore traditions of one of three biblical pilgrims festivals marked by Jews this week

VIDEO – The holiday of Shavuot, celebrated by Jews this week, is one of the three biblical pilgrim festivals in Judaism – in addition to Passover and Sukkot.


In translation to English, "Shavuot" means weeks, describing the seven weeks between Passover, when the Hebrews were historically freed from Egypt, to the day when their Torah was received.


Video courtesy of (Reporter: Sivan Raviv)


What do we celebrate on the holiday of Shavuot?


"The idea of Shavuot is it's actually the day that Moses came down from the mountain with the Torah," explains Aish TLV Rabbi Shlomo Chen. "That's when we got the Ten Commandments, on the sixth of Sivan (Hebrew month).


"From Passover all the way to Shavuot, we have seven weeks like the seven days that a bride and a groom are getting ready for their wedding. It's the seven weeks that God actually freed us, we became a nation and now we're waiting seven weeks to get married. The Torah is actually the ring that God is going to give us when we get married. That is actually the peak of our relationship with God."


On the eve of Shavuot, all night-long learning takes place in many locations around the country. Rabbis, students, along with the average Jew, gather to engage in spiritual learning.


Aside from the religious perspective of Shavuot, many secular Jews in Israel enjoy the cultural aspects of the holiday as well.


"It's a great holiday," says Bnei Zion resident Ilay Lachkam. "We mostly like the vacation and we eat a lot of cheese on this holiday: Cheese salad, cheese sandwich, everything with cheese.


"The girls of Israel used to walk out to find a groom in Shavuot in the old days, and they used to wear white dresses. I don't know where the cheesecake came from."


Why do people in Israel wear white? Why do they eat dairy?


According to Rabbi Chen, "They only eat milk products because what we believe in Jewish tradition is that we reach the very high level. When we got the Torah we actually reached the level of Eden.


" Adam and Eve, back in the day when they were in Eden, they didn't eat any flesh, they didn't eat any meat, they only ate vegetables. They only ate anything that wasn't from an animal, so the claim in the tradition is that we reached that level again when we got the Torah. It was a very spiritual time, and that's why we stay away from meat at that time.


"Wearing white is basically it's like being an angel. Basically, we're dressing like angels. We're returning to Eden, where the same concept of only eating milk products or vegetables and fruits is that we're all pure.


"God gave us the wisdom of the world through the Torah and we're reaching such a spiritual level that we dress in white, like on Yom Kippur. We're all white, we're all clean, we're like angels, there's nothing that can stop us. The sky is the limit and that's what we want for this Shavuot, God willing."



פרסום ראשון: 05.16.13, 15:05
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