THE FESTIVAL OF WEEKS
sundown 5/28/2020 - sundown 5/29/2020
“And you shall perform the Festival of Weeks to יהוה your Elohim, according to the voluntary offering from your hand, which you give as יהוה your Elohim blesses you."
Shavuot is the Festival of Weeks.
It is a set-apart festival of יהוה - a day of rest and assembly.
"And on this same day you shall proclaim a set-apart gathering for yourselves, you do no servile work on it – a law forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations."
Shavuot is also called the Day of First-Fruits (Yom Habikkurim; Bem/Num. 28:26) and the Festival of the Harvest (Chag Hakatzir; Shem/Ex. 23:16). This is because Shavuot marks the beginning of the wheat harvest (Shem/Ex. 34:22).
Shavuot also commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Therefore, it is referred to as Zman Matan Torateinu, the Time of the Giving of our Torah.
Shavuot literally means 'weeks'. This is in reference to its observance seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot also means 'oaths,' which is in reference to the oaths taken by both Elohim and Yisrael when entering the Covenant at Sinai (Shem/Ex. 19:4-8; 24:3-8).
See Verses: Shemoth/Exodus 23:14-17, 34:22; Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:15-22; Bemidbar/Numbers 28:26-31; Debarim/Deuteronomy 16:10-12, 16-17
"Bring from your dwellings for a wave offering two loaves of bread, of two-tenths of an ĕphah of fine flour they are, baked with leaven, first-fruits to יהוה."
Shavuot is open to all who are or desire to be in covenant with the Almighty יהוה.
Where Does Shavuot Take Place?
Three times a year, we are commanded to appear before יהוה, and Shavuot is one of those times. Therefore, it should be observed at the set-apart place that יהוה has chosen for His Name. That is the place where we are to bring Him our voluntary offering (Deb/Deut. 16:11,16).
Sadly, however, not everyone can make it to His set-apart place (although one should make their best effort to travel). So, family and friends and fellow Yahudim should assemble in their homes because we are still commanded to proclaim a set-apart gathering (Wayy/Lev. 23:21).
Assembling together is a very important part of Shavuot. The reading of the Ten Commands is one of the highlights of the Festival observance, and assembling together for this event is encouraged because whenever Yahudim gather together as one people to hear the Commandments of Elohim, it recreates the most important moment in history - when יהוה gave us His Torah on Sinai. Assembling together to hear the commands of the Almighty is a commemorative act with extraordinary significance.
Shavuot is the only set-apart day that doesn't have a specific date indicated in the Torah. Instead, the date is determined by counting 50 days after Passover. In times past, when the new month was determined by visual sighting of the moon and confirmed by a Beit Din, Shavuot usually would fall anywhere from the 5th to the 7th of Sivan (the third Hebrew month). However, now that we use a set calendar, Shavuot falls on the 6th of Sivan.
Who should observe Shavuot?
When Is Shavuot?
“These Words יהוה spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a loud voice, and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me."
Why Do We Observe Shavuot?
> Because יהוה said so.
(note – this will always be the first answer to any question of 'Why?')
> To give thanks to יהוה for all His provisions.
Shavuot marks the beginning of the wheat harvest, and the offering on Shavuot - two loaves of bread - is from the first-fruits of this harvest.
Bread is often called the 'staff of life' because of man's dependence on it for survival. On Shavuot, we give thanks to יהוה for the 'harvest' He gives us to provide for our needs, sustain us, and keep us alive. We give a voluntary offering to יהוה according to all His blessings upon us (Deb/Deut. 16:10,17).
> To Celebrate our Freedom & Enter the Covenant
יהוה tells us for Shavuot, "And you shall remember that you were a slave in Mitsrayim, and you shall guard and do these laws" (Deb/Deut. 16:12). We were set free from slavery at Pesach, and fifty days later, at Shavuot, we receive the true freedom - freedom to be servants of the Most High. The fifty days corresponds to the release at the Yobel (Jubilee), so the fiftieth day of Shavuot is a great celebration of our release from slavery.
'Guarding and doing His Laws' is the commitment we make to יהוה when we receive the Torah and enter the Covenant. This first happened at Sinai, and every generation since then must receive the Torah and enter the Covenant.
This is why the Torah gives no specific date for Shavuot -- the Torah is constantly being given and received, and every generation has some entering the Covenant and committing themselves to guard and do His Laws.
Therefore, Shavuot is not only a remembrance of what happened all those years ago at Sinai, but it is also a yearly re-creation of Sinai. At Shavuot, we don't just remember – we live it!
Some of us may be entering the Covenant for the first time. Some of us may be recommitting ourselves after some time 'away.' Some of us may be reaffirming our already deeply-held commitment.
Whichever boat we're in, at Shavuot, we see ourselves as standing at Sinai before the Most High Creator of all, and we receive His commands for us. We remember that we were once slaves, but now we are free to serve יהוה. We will guard and do all His laws. As a precious gift from a loved one, we lovingly accept His Torah, guard it, and protect it in our hearts.
"And he took the Book of the Covenant
and read it in the hearing of the people.
And they said,
"All that יהוה has spoken we shall do,
How Do We Observe Shavuot?
The 'how' of Shavuot is probably the simplest of all the set-apart days because there is no specific mitzvah, like eating matzah, blowing the ram's horn, or building a sukkah. We observe it in commemoration of the greatest event in the history of mankind - Matan Torah, the Giving of the Torah. So, the main focus of the day is to hear the Ten Words of the Covenant (Shem/Ex. 34:28).
So, what do we do?
1) Rest. Shavuot is a Sabbath - we shouldn't go to work, engage in any business activity, or do anything particularly laborious.
2) Listen to the Commandments. As said earlier, if you can, assemble with other Yahudim and hear the Ten Commandments. If you can't make it to assembly, read it aloud in the Scriptures: Shemoth/Exodus 20:1-17.
Click HERE to listen to the Ten Commandments.
3) Enter or Renew the Covenant. After the commandments, enter the Covenant of Elohim by committing yourself to learn, study, and obey His word. If you are already in the Covenant, commit to take your learning and obedience to a higher level than the past year.
**Remember: The Covenant is a serious matter. You are making a commitment to the Most High YAHUAH Elohim, to obey Him and serve Him only. Only enter the Covenant if you are truly committed to walking in His ways and with the full understanding that there are consequences for disobedience.
4) Make an offering. Give a voluntary offering to יהוה according to the blessings He has given you. (Deb/Deut. 16:10, 16-17)
5) Celebrate! Give thanks to יהוה for keeping you alive and sustaining you. Thank Him for His Torah, without which none could live, and celebrate your freedom from slavery!
** Shavuot Scripture Readings:
Day 1: Shemoth/Exodus 19:1 - 20:23
Yehezqel/Ezekiel 1:1-28; 3:12
Day 2: Debarim/Deuteronomy 15:19 - 16:17
Habaquq/Habakkuk 2:20 -3:19