Celebrating Shavuos Alone

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5 Responses

  1. Joel Rich says:

    Good thoughts but where exactly does the Torah tell us that the essence of Shavuot is the receipt of the Torah? Perhaps secular folks could relate to the agricultural nature (Exodus 34:22) or the thanks for the bounty (Dvarim 16:10) specifically mentioned in the Torah. Customer focus is the key to marketing.

  2. Ori Pomerantz says:

    It’s hard for people who dwell in cities and see food coming from a supermarket (= most of us) to relate to the agricultural nature of Shavuot (or Sukkot, for that matter).

    Torah study for secular Jews would be an excellent idea. The main problem is to make it about studying, rather than “these are the things you need to do which you haven’t so far”.

  3. Sammy Finkelman says:

    The interesting thing is that there are many secular or semi-secular Jews who take part in Simchas Torah which in some ways covers the same territory except that it is not from the Torah. So you can’t say there is no way to celebrate the Torah.

  4. mycroft says:

    Joel is correct-there is a machlokes when the Torah was given. I believe in Yemen the Yeminites stayed up all night on the 2nd night of Shavuot. An obvious reference to the viewpoint the Torah was given then. Of course, in Israel there is no 2nd night of Shavuot.
    In addition bizman hazeh-when no Beis Hamikdash there are essentially no laws special to Shavuot see eg the Chayei Adom-only mentions the Gra abolishing the custom of vegetation in synagogues.
    Shavuot like Shminei Azeret is the culmination of other holidays-Succot and Pesach.
    In the Diaspora about 1000 years ago the custom of Simchat Torah was established for the 2nd day of Yom Tov-iot became so popular that Israel took the customs and put it on the 1st day. Similar in Shavuot customs about learning Torah developed. But neither are certainly the essence of the days as given by the Torah.

    After tne minor nitpicking I should say I like the post immensely for the general thoughts presented.

  5. Yaakov Rosenblatt, Dallas says:

    We have the same challenge in the US Kiruv world: what can we offer a man/woman who has a sudden craving for spirituality but whose spouse is not so inclined (and often scared by its intensity)?

    Here the solution is at hand: the inspired can take classes, attend Shabbos meals, and not feel it is an all or nothing endeavor. And it can be perceived as “doing his thing” by the spouse.

    But not in Israel.

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