Why is Shavuot Significant?

It's probably a bigger deal than you think.

Although Shavuot receives relatively little attention in the US compared to its sister holidays (Passover and Sukkot), it is a major Jewish holiday of the same status. Shavuot is a celebration of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai—the moment when God and Israel sealed their covenant together.

Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage festivals in Jewish tradition. These festivals—Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot—were originally agricultural celebrations that later imbued with historical significance. Passover celebrates the redemption of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, Shavuot celebrates the subsequent receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and Sukkot recalls the 40 years that the Israelites wandered through the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land. Together, these three festivals are a way that Jews reenact their sacred myth—from slavery to redemption and revelation—every year.

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Shavuot 101

Shavuot commemorates the spring harvest and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Shavuot

Why some synagogues use paper-cuts as decorations, how Israelis celebrate with water, and other lesser-known facts about this springtime holiday.

Why Dairy on Shavuot?

A survey of the many explanations given for the tradition of eating milk products.

What Ruth Can Teach Us About Celebrating Shavuot

The Jewish people accepted the Torah in fear of God's overwhelming power. Ruth accepted it out of love and loyalty.

The Story of the Book of Ruth

An analysis of the book read on Shavuot.

Why Read Ezekiel on Shavuot?

Tradition connects the prophet's vision to the revelation at Sinai.

The Ten Commandments

The division and structure has been open to interpretation throughout history.

Shavuot in Modern Times

New ceremonies and rituals are introduced.