BY RICHARD SISON | 2014
Shavuot, the Festival of the Weeks, is the second of the three major festivals with both, historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Passover and Sukkot). Agriculturally, it commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple. Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and the Giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
It is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of the giving of the Torah, rather of the time of the receiving of the Torah. The sages point out that we are constantly in the process of receiving the Torah, that we receive it every day, but it was first given at this time. Thus it is the giving, not the receiving, that makes this holiday significant.
In traditional Judaism, the festival of Shavuot marks the culmination of the experience of redemption, sometimes called Atzaret Pesach, The Conclusion of Passover. Since the great Exodus from Egypt was intended to lead to the revelation of Sinai, the goal of Passover is the giving of the Torah to the Hebrew people. G-D took the Jews out of Egypt so that they would be His own treasured people, holy and separated from the pagan cultures around them.
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