Shavuot

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Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The period from Pesach to Shavuot is a time of great hope. We count each of the days from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavuot.

This counting reminds Jews of the connection between the two festivals: Passover freed them physically from slavery, but the giving of the Torah on Shavuot freed them spiritually.

It is customary to stay up the entire first night of Shavuot and study the Torah, then pray as early as possible in the morning. It is also customary to eat a dairy meal and dairy foods, such as cheesecake, at least once during Shavuot. One of the reasons for this is that the Jews had only just received the Torah with its laws of shechita (ritual slaughtering of animals), so had not had time to study them yet. Another reason for eating dairy foods may be a reminder of God’s promise regarding the land of Israel, a land flowing with ‘milk and honey’.