Lets skip the polotics and talk about holidays today!
One of Judaism's big holidays starts tonight – Shavuot. It is one of the three pilgrimage festivals along with Passover and Sukkot, starts.
Shavuot marks the giving of the first five books of the Bible written by Moses. In Hebrew they collectively are called the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). Together, they make up Judaism's most basic scripture.
You'll recall that the law was given at Mt. Sinai. That happened seven weeks after the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. Shavuot literally means “weeks” and is celebrated exactly seven weeks after the first day of Passover. The first day of Passover marks the exodus itself.
When we turn to the Bible we find there the celebration of Shavuot specified in Exodus 34:22 and Deuteronomy 16:10.
What happens here for a Jewish family in Jerusalem? TonightOn Thursday night, May 28, after festive evening prayers and a big meal, many people will follow the custom of staying awake all night and studying religious texts, and then saying morning prayers at the earliest permitted time. This is meant to express the enthusiasm of the Jewish people to receive the Law.
At the Western Wall, it will be exceptionally crowded for Shavuot morning prayers. It is a good time to catch the crowds dancing and singing.
In ancient times, Shavuot marked the end of the barley harvest, and the beginning of the wheat harvest. Jewish farmers brought their first fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 26:1-11), where special offerings were brought (Numbers 28:26-31).
This is often where some Christians connect this Holiday with the return of Christ – but we could speak also about the beginning of the Church with what took place on Pentecost and also Peter's Sermon on the southern Steps of the Temple resulting with the conversion of over 3000 souls.
May God in His great abundant mercy grant us an exodus from the captivity of sin and helplessness into the perfect law of love and liberty!
Middle East Correspondent