Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County

Shavuot Customs

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:38am -- Rabbi Cosnowsky

The holiday of Shavuot is quickly approaching. On Shavuot, we say the words, "Z'man matan Torateinu," “time time of the giving of our Torah.” We say we were given Torah at Mt. Sinai, rather than it was received. That is, the Torah was a gift or a Matana in Hebrew. All we have to do on Shavuot is eat blintzes and other dairy foods and receive this holy gift from God. However, the name of the holiday sheds light on what our job is during the weeks that preceded it. 

The name Shavuot means weeks. There are 7 weeks from the second day of Passover to Shavuot. Our job during that time was not only to count the omer, but also to prepare ourselves spiritually to receive Torah. Like gifts that go unopened or unused, we could be given a gift that we do not realize the intrinsic value of. When we take the time to adequately prepare, we are in a better position to not let such an event pass without enjoying the fruits of the gift.

This is similar to the time of Elul - the final month of the year which precedes Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Just as we undergo intense spiritual preparation for the High Holidays during Elul, during the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot, we are supposed to be doing the same - intense spiritual preparation. It is when we prepare ourselves to receive the proverbial Torah on Shavuot and enjoy the fruits of study, food and community.

Please join us for our congregational Shavuot service on Tuesday night, May 30 at 7:00 PM. Chag Sameach - may you be blessed with the gift of Torah at this time of celebration.