Shavuot: An Overview
This year the holiday of Shavuot is Sunday and Monday, June 12 & 13

Shavuot, along with Passover and Sukkot, is one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals. It is celebrated on the 6th of Sivan in Israel, and the 6th and 7th of Sivan in the diaspora. The Bible describes Shavuot as an agricultural holiday: the festival of Reaping (Jeremiah 5:24, Deuteronomy 16:9-11, Isaiah 9:2). Seven weeks were counted from the spring festival (Passover), when the people would begin to harvest barley, and ended with Shavuot, with the harvesting of wheat. The counting of this seven week period is called the Counting of the Omer.

Today, Shavuot is most widely known as the Jewish holiday that commemorates the day God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. According to the Torah, it took seven weeks for the Israelites to travel from Egypt to Mount Sinai. The name Shavuot, meaning “weeks,” refers to this seven-week journey.

On Passover, the people of Israel were liberated from their Egyptian slavery; on Shavuot they were given the Torah and committed themselves to serving God. While Passover marks their liberation from slavery, Shavuot marks the renewal of their commitment and dedication to God.