Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy Shavuos

The Jewish holiday of Shavuos runs from Thursday night to Saturday night, coinciding Friday and Saturday with Shabbos, so during this time MZ will not be blogging. Here is a brief explanation of Shavuos for those readers who may not be so familiar with this annual holy festival.

Shavuos

Shavuos is a major Torah holiday that comes 50 days after Pesach begins. Shavuos literally means "weeks", and after 7 weeks have passed we celebrate a festival of "weeks" that is culminated by celebrating God's gift of the Torah to the Jewish people at Sinai. This event, a collective revelation communicated directly, and simultaneously, from God to the entire Jewish nation on that 50th day, is the single most important moment in Jewish history.

Shavuos is also one of three pilgrimage holidays, or Shalosh Regalim, which also include Pesach, Sukkos, that Jews were obligated to come from wherever they resided to The Land of Israel, Jerusalem specifically, and make their offerings to God at the Holy Temple (yes, located on the same Temple Mount which the moslems possess today courtesy of an Israeli "good will gesture").

Shavuos is also an agricultural celebration, a festival of the first grains of the harvest season.

Shavuos is celebrated religiously by reciting the Ten Commandments in synagogue, not working, and reading the Megillah (book of) Ruth, an uplifting story of a convert who would eventually become the grandmother of King David himself, who was born on Shavuos and died on Shavuos! The setting of the book of Ruth also takes place during Shavuos when she was gleaning the fruits of the first harvest.

There are also many other traditions that Jews often do to honor this most important holiday. One of these includes eating dairy foods (cheesecake is a must!), which both symbolizes purity of the Land of MILK and honey, and reflects on how we were unable to understand how to make meat Kosher until after receiving the Torah.

Another tradition we enjoy is preparing ourselves for Torah by learning Torah all night the first night of Shavuos, until sunrise of the next day, so that we will be symbolically ready to receive God's gift of Torah as if were the Jews who received it almost 3500 years ago.

Chag Sameach Shavuot!

-MZ

37 comments:

  1. One of the traditional things Apartheid Israel does on this day is kill Palestinian civilians and steal their land.

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  2. kahaneloyalist6/01/2006 10:59 AM

    I wish

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  3. the merry widow6/01/2006 11:25 AM

    Good grief, jobro, can't you use the bathroom in your own house?
    MadZ-Not only Jewish history, but the whole world's history! Without the 10 Commandments we wouldn't know G*D's standards! So good Shavuos and have a slice of cheesecake for me!

    tmw

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  4. Thanks, tmw. Oh, and what KL said, too.

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  5. Hey!!! How about a bear cage match between Jobro and MZ? That will be a good one.

    ...I am getting suspicious of you MZ. It is starting to sound like you guys have way too many holidays.

    Can it be a Zionist plot to party?

    (Thanks for the background, these are my favorite posts that you do.)

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  6. My money is on MZ but he is too merciful to the sons of Marx. Marxists are traitors and should be under constant governmental scrutiny and deported.

    Brown be glad it is not me in the steal cage as I have zero mercy for your kind. The behavior of your ilk after 9-11 speaks for itself. MZ may show compassion towards your ilk but you would get none from me.

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  7. Truth hurt, "Beaker"?

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  8. the merry widow6/02/2006 6:49 AM

    Not always the "one" you think, Dana! Truth has a habit of turning the corner behind you and taking a BIG bite out of you! That is the difference between conservatives and liberals, conservatives know truth is in the area, so they try to find it. Leftists on the other hand are so busy trying to build a house of straw in a tornado, so they aren't looking for TRUTH and it kicks thier straw house down around thier ears. But, since leftists don't want TRUTH but instead thier version(well edited), they are running around trying to find all the bits of straw, they get carried off by the tornado! Beaker- You're right, leftism is a mental illness, self-inflicted!

    Good morning and G*D bless with a beautiful day to celebrate in!
    MadZ- My idea(G*D's) has been going around, so there may be a number of people praying on 8th Av!

    tmw

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  9. Hey MZ,

    I wanted to ask you about Jewish stuff. Seriously, I grew up in a surf town in California and I just didn't get a lot of exposure. A couple questions off the top of my head:

    What is the difference between the Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament from the Bible? My understanding is that Jews believe in the Old Testament, so if the Torah is a separate book, how was it derived?

    What is the Jewish take on Christ? I know Jews do not consider Christ to be the son of God, but is he considered to be a Prophet? Rabbi? Weird Crank? What?

    What the hell is the deal with all the anti-Semitism? I get the Arabs being pissed off - because they are obnoxious and violent pricks who hate everyone except themselves,and they feel they got screwed on the whole Israel deal.

    But what about everyone else - Europeans, mainly? What is everyone's problem, really? All I can derive from what I've seen of Jewish culture and habits is that they do their own thing and tend to be good at a lot of things they try to do (arts, science, finance, etc.). Jews in prison and Jews at the soup kitchens seems to be pretty damn rare compared to Jews on the honor rolls or on the marquis. Isn't that a good thing???

    What gives - just straight envy? Or is it all this historical "Dem Joos killed Christ" stuff (which was supposed to be pre-ordained anyway, so what the hell?)

    For the record, I'm not of any religion, I merely believe in God by the evidence as I see it. I understand Christianity basically because it is so domnant in US culture, and I understand some of Islam now due to reading and being in Iraq.

    Just wondering. Maybe a subject too long for this post. Can you point me to some good links?

    thanks.

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  10. the merry widow6/02/2006 11:46 AM

    Orangeducks- The Torah is what we call the first 5 books of the Bible, they were written by Moses and are "first" cause, nations, Abraham and Jews then Exodus from Egypt, Laws and ways of doing things, families and entering the Promised Land. Short, sweet and incomplete, but basically what it's about. The rest of what we call the Old Testament is divided into Prophets, History, Poetry and Wisdom. I believe that's right, KL or MadZ can correct me! But that should give you an idea to start with, further elaboration can wait on others. But the Torah is the part called The Law, so when Jesus referred to The Law and The Prophets, that was what HE was referencing. Does that help?

    tmw

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  11. Chag Sameach Shavuot, madze!

    orangeducks - great questions. i killed Christ, however, if anybody asks.

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  12. Break out the sader plates!! I want some food!!!!!

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  13. the merry widow6/02/2006 6:14 PM

    Hey, Nanc, I did it! I can prove it too!
    EB- Sounds like you had a light lunch! You need something with a little more staying power. Though I have to say, when we were at Whiteman AFB, our next door neighbors were Conservative Jews and if they went to Kansas City for the day my Mom would get a phone call, "We're back and we have fresh matzos!". Mom was out the door so fast, you'd get run over if you didn't move! And my favorite resteraunt in Orlando, was Ronnie's! Had thier own bakery, every table had steel bowls full of sauerkraut, whole kosher dills and pickled beets! Oh man, the food was GOOD!

    tmw

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  14. and Yeshua said He did not come to abolish the law, He said He came to fulfill it. i love my book of commentary on the 613 laws. powerful.

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  15. FB

    The seder plates is for the holiday of passover. The biblical readings include the book of Ruth and Habacook which nobody seems to have read.

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  16. There was a book of Ruth? Hmmmm....
    Interesting. So did you ban uppy or what Beak?

    For the record MZ--I still think the Israeli's should bulldoze the turd mound Holy Dome on the Rock for humanitarian purposes.
    BTW, I love the fact that you celebrate Shavuos! How much you want to bet that Al Franken or Barbara Streisand doesn't celebrate it?

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  17. the merry widow6/02/2006 9:47 PM

    Florian- Why should they, they are "higher beings" who are above such things! The rest of us "lower" forms of life need something to lean on because we are so inadequate! Thing is, I know I am! I'm happy to be me, I'm not sure they are though!

    tmw

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  18. holy crappe, flo - ruth is after judges and before 1 samuel! habakkuk is the eighth of the twelve minor prophets. follows nahum and precedes zephaniah. habakkuk includes a vision of the fig tree (israel) before the blossom (coming to life). the minor prophets are worthy studies for our times.

    there is promise at the end of EVERY ONE!

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  19. Thanks tmw.

    OK, I think I may understand a bit. Help me here...

    The Torah was written by Moses to establish the rules and guidlines for living a Jewish life, and is therefore described as The Law. Then Jews also believe in the Old Testament of the Bible as the Prophetic descriptions of historical and religious occurrences. Is that it?

    Sorry - I know I'm way off topic.

    Cheers - orangeducks

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  20. Nanc That was pretty good as the minor prophets seem to have even inspired some art.

    The book of Ruth is inspirational in its own way.

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  21. the merry widow6/03/2006 8:42 AM

    Orangeducks- From Joshua through Nehemiah, those are the Historical books, they tell of Israels occupying the land and eventual disobedience. The Poetic books are Psalms and the Song of Solomon. The Wisdom books are Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. I believe Lamantations is also a Poetic book, after and by Jeremiah. Then from Isaiah to Malachi, except for Lamantations, are the Prophets. That about right Nanc? Ruth and Esther are the only books named after women, Esther is unique because G*D's name is never used.
    Ruth is a hope filled book for gentiles, because it gave us a way to G*D. HE showed HIS concern early by openning a way for us to salvation. And if a gentile prostitute can become a link in the lineage of David and Messiah...
    BTW, Caleb, Joshua's friend was originally a gentile along with his father. Moses wife Zephorah was a gentile, Naaman was a gentile and they all are included in G*D's grace!
    Good morning and G*D bless!

    tmw

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  22. the law was made to show us our sin - hard as one may try, cannot ever keep the entire law.

    jews have 613 laws and probably like other people of faith, have some made up doctrine. if you think about how hard it is to keep the law it would make you crazy.

    christians have 10 commandments to live by and cannot keep them.

    yesterday on our drive home, my son who loves the Lord with all his being, out of the blue said, "mama, doesn't it hurt your brain to think of the possibilities of God? he's without end, mama - that makes my head hurt." at least he's thinking about Him.

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  23. the merry widow6/03/2006 10:57 AM

    Nanc- Actually, Jesus boiled them down to 2. Love G*D with all your heart, soul, mind and strenghth, and love your neighbor the same as you love yourself! Still can't do it without HIS help! Heck, I can't even love myself without HIS help, much less someone I don't know!

    tmw

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  24. well, i like me plenty - it's the others i'm not so sure of...

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  25. kahaneloyalist6/03/2006 10:52 PM

    Orangeducks, I am Jewish and I will try to answer your questions.

    The Torah was dictated to Moshe by Hashem in the Sinai desert.

    The Jewish people as a whole recieved a mass revelation at Mount. Sinai. This is the Jewish proof over every other religion in that we received a mass revelation whereas every other religion was revealed to a individual or a small group.

    The term old testament was invented by the early Christians to say that the Torah had been replaced by the Gospels. We Jews of course reject this.

    The Jewish view of Jesus is that he was a man who was Jewish, he was not a Prophet, he was not a Rabbi. He was at best crazy at worst a Min(Traitorous Heretic), nor did he have a large following among Jews.

    The Jewish view towards Christianity as a whole ranges from the Rambam's psak that it is Avoda Zara(poorly translated as idolotry) to the Meiri's psak that it is even a bideeved version of Ben Noach.

    The anti-semitism has many reasons both from the Jewish theological perpective, and from a practical perpective.

    Theological in that it is a Jewish belief that when the Jewish nation doesn't follow the Torah we will be punished.

    To a practical source in that Europe has always been a area hostile to the Jewish people and this over time has transformed from a religious Christian belief to a Secularly based hostility.

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  26. Sorry for the misspell. I took part in seder dinners on a college campus. We did not make it just for passover. We also only have a handfull of Jewish students at the school. I honestly don't think anyone knew what the point was to any of it.
    I was under the impression that a seder was tradition for most Jewish holidays. forgive my mistake. I will try to do more research in the future. I have read as much of the bible. However I have only been a "practicing Christian" for just over a year. So much of the old testament has not been studied in full.

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  27. the merry widow6/04/2006 7:09 AM

    Jacob- Lots of treasure in the "Older" Testament, as some call it. Not to be rejected because it is "first cause", a study of Genesis is excellant for understanding the ways and wherefores of a lot of the "Newer" Testament! KL- May I respectfully point you to reading the Newer Testament to see that much of what is actually written is based solidly on the Older! If we didn't have the Older there could be no Newer. My Sunday school class spent 2 1/2 yrs. studying Genesis verse by verse! A worthy study to understanding much!

    tmw

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  28. the merry widow6/04/2006 7:15 AM

    KL- BTW, I have found a Hebrew-English Interliner very helpful for study, a Greek-English for the Newer.
    Best,
    tmw

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  29. Dana

    I do not hit women but would love to see a time when Commies were properly dealt with. Communism is a mental illness and you are living proof.

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  30. I have read much of the old testament. I just have not studied it a lot. I hope once I am done training at my new job I will have more time to devote to real study.

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  31. kahane Loyalist,

    there are plenty of Jews who regard Jesus as a Rabbi.

    Now and THEN.

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  32. kahaneloyalist6/05/2006 11:37 PM

    He was as much a Rabbi as the local Reform Rabbi named sally.

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  33. Kahane Loyalist,

    I have no idea if Jesus was a Rabbi or not, but there were plenty of his contemporaries who regarded him as such and there are plenty of Jews alive today who do so. My statement was accurate.

    There is no monolithic Jewish point of view or even system of belief.

    There are different sects of religious Jews. Do all the sects think Jesus wasn't a Rabbi? I'm genuinely curious.

    Comparing jesus to a reform Rabbi named Sally was a tad bigoted. It suggests that Jesus was a flake. He may not have been a Rabbi but he was no flake.

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  34. JB, the fact is, Jesus wasn't a factor in Judaism. Whether or not he was a Rabbi is immaterial to us because his role had no religious impact.

    That said, KL was wrong to mock you about Jesus. As Jews, Torah commands us that embarassing someone is akin to killing him, and obviously calling Jesus "Sally the Reform Rabbi" was designed to mock your beliefs. That is wrong, and he should not have made such an insulting comment to somebody who is clearly a friend of the Jewish people. If you were a nasty troll who was mocking the Jews, fine, I can understand fighting back with some fire, but you are a great friend and ally who has earned far more respect than you were given in that exchange.

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  35. MZ,

    I know Jesus has never been a factor in Judaism, but he's never been irrelevant to all Jews.

    That was the only point I tried to make, although I do admit I got angry when KL smeared Jesus as "crazy at best."

    Jesus never claimed to be divine and I have no problem with Judaism rejecting him as such. However, there is no denying that he was an exemplary example of humanity and that his moral teachings were first-rate. He may have been a heretic under Rabbinical Law but he was as sane, just and moral as they come.

    KL is the one who expressed the supremacist sentiment I told you about recently. I don't mind it when people feel superior and I admit that they may actually be superior. I do mind when people act on these feelings or express them inappropriately.

    KL never responds to my questions. I don't know if it's because he doesn't want to insult an ally or because he's arrogant. I prefer to believe the former.

    You always reply to me. I appreciate that. If KL is trying to spare my feelings I appreciate that too.

    Having said that, I also have to say that you were right about another thing. KL was out of line when he mocked Jesus with the intention of insulting me. I think he regrets doing so but has trouble saying so. I understand that. It's hard to take back a harsh word, especially if it was directed at an ally or friend.

    No hard feelings, MZ and KL.

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