• December 2, 2022
  • 8 5783, Kislev
  • פרשת ויצא

Shavuot: The Biblical Origins and Evolution of a Holiday

Shavuot: The Biblical Origins and Evolution of a Holiday

In memory of Mrs. Mary Ruback ע”ה of Dallas, Texas on her first Yahretzeit (Shavuot 2010)
Shavuot, known as the Festival of Weeks, is a holiday of recounting, where history and memory merge. It has Biblical, Rabbinic, and Mystical resonance. These classes will introduce you to the many customs, and practices related to the holiday.

Class One
The Magic of fifty and its significance, or Why all this counting?
Shavuot occurs fifty days after Passover begins, and the Torah teaches that we should literally count each day. The first class will recount the many reasons given for this commandment, and its modern applications today.
Class Two
What was the first Shavuot like, and how has it evolved?
Shavuot in the Torah, like other important holidays, is described as a harvest festival for some of the first fruits of the season. The Biblical ritual offerings are replete with nuance and mystery. By unpacking what these verses mean, we will speculate on what the holiday meant to those who observed it then and what it might mean for us today.
Class Three
Stories of Shavuot, and things to do to celebrate the holiday.
Customs of Shavuot and their meaning will be explained along with compelling narratives regarding what has become the central theme of present day Shavuot, the receiving of the Ten Commandments.

April 26, 2010 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Shavuot: The Biblical Origins and Evolution of a Holiday: Lesson 1
Class description

SHAVUOT: THE BIBLICAL ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION OF A HOLIDAY-HELLO EVERYONE: I’m looking forward to our time together this evening. I have to say that I’m gratified by the large registration for this class, and have been preparing assiduously for all of you. In many ways the commandment to count the fifty days between Passover and Shavuot is a microcosm for understanding the relationship between the Torah and its rabbinic interpreters. You will not only receive much information regarding the commandment, the mitzvah itself, but also how one verse can become a Torah in and of itself. I have prepared Powerpoint slides to make sure that we cover what we need to, but one of the great things about this virtual class is that you can ask questions, and be answered either vocally or through the Instant message module. So, don’t be bashful! I’m looking for exciting insights and great conversation! B’vracha (With blessing) Avi Weinstein

Handouts
May 3, 2010 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Shavuot: The Biblical Origins and Evolution of a Holiday: Lesson 2
Class description

THE FIRST SHAVUOT: Dear Students, After a brief summary of general points regarding the season between Passove and Shavuot, we will look at the Biblical origins of the Holiday focusing on how it is known that the Torah was received on Shavuot since it is not mentioned explicitly in the text. We will also look at the relationship between the harvest festival and the exodus from Egypt as rendered in the Book of Duteronomy. So, tonight we’re back to the sources! Hope you all will be there. Avi Weinstein

May 17, 2010 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Shavuot: The Biblical Origins and Evolution of a Holiday: Lesson 3
Class description

SHAVUOT: THE BIBLICAL ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION OF A HOLIDAY: Along with a summary of what we have already learned, we will give reasons for the customs of Shavuot traditionally practiced to day. Why dairy products? When did we start staying up all night and why? Are the ten commandments more important than the others? If not, why are they singled out? If time permits we will also learn a Talmudic story or two of what actually happened when Moses was on the mountain. Before Jules Verne, our sages had created–maybe the first–story of time travel. See you tonight!