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eJudaism: 40 - Pete Best, George Lazenby, Shemp, Shavuot (Part 1)

05/26/2022 09:21:09 AM

May26

Michael Greenfield

Most people do a countdown to something exciting, but Jewish tradition goes the other way. Starting on the second night of Passover, we count up - day by day - for seven weeks. And then, after 49 days of ritualized counting, we hit the biggest Jewish holiday you're likely to forget.

Today is day 40 out of 49, which means we're just 10 days away from Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the revelation at Mt. Sinai and the giving of the Torah. It's the day we got the 10 Commandments (plus the other 603) which you would think would be a big deal. And it is a BIG DEAL in Judaism. It's one of the three pilgrimage festivals when ancient Israelites all gathered at the Temple in Jerusalem and brought sacrifices for God. Our problem isn't that we don't sacrifice or make pilgrimages anymore (Passover is a pilgrimage holiday and we all know that one really well). Rather, for most modern Jews, the fact that Shavuot falls outside of the school year generally gives it the same status as the fourth of the Three Stooges, or the fifth Beatle, or that guy who only played James Bond once and is now just an answer in Trivial Pursuit.

Over the next ten days, I'll share some tidbits and background starting with this - why, exactly, are we counting up? The same reason we add a candle each night of Chanukah instead of taking one away. In matters of holiness, we always want to increase, to lift ourselves up. Which fits perfectly since that's what the Torah's for anyway.

Mon, June 27 2022 28 Sivan 5782