Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May you have a blessed Shavout

Shavout - the Feast of Weeks. Began at sunset last evening. The day G-d gave the Torah on Mt Sinai. 50 days after the Exodus. 1 of 3 High Holy days when all Jews are supposed to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

While I'm not Jewish, I do believe it's important to know what the Jews believe. It's probably more Biblically accurate than any church out there today. And that begs the question....what do you believe?

I am in the process of writing down what I believe - putting it into a book that I can print out and give to my children. Pentacost is the Greek word for 50th day. It was 50 days after Passover. In the Old Testament, it was Shavout. In the New Testament it is Pentacost. So, of course, NOT 50 days after Easter.....but 50 days after Passover. Amazing how our calendar has life so utterly confused. But how clear the Hebrew calendar remains in the year 5770.

There are no Biblical mandates to be followed today. But Hebrew traditons offer the following things to do:

Read the book of Ruth. Eat dairy products, drink milk. Decorate your home with greenery (because Mt Sinai suddenly blossomed with flowers in anticipation ofthe giving of the Torah). Recite the Akdamut which in essence says to never stop learing the Torah - when on finishes, one must start anew again.

So I needed to go online and find a translation of the Akdamut. I had never read it before.

Before I begin to read his Words (The Ten Commandments),

I will ask Permission,

Of the One Whose Might is such that -

Even if all the heavens were parchment,

And all the reeds pens,

And all the oceans ink,

And all people were scribes,

It would be impossible to record

the Greatness of the Creator,

Who Created the World with a soft utterance,

And with a single letter, the letter "heh,"

The lightest of the letters.

And Angels of Heaven of all kinds,

All full of fear and terror of their Master,

Have permission to praise him only at set times,

Some once in seven years, Others once and no more,

How beloved is Israel!

For the Holy One leaves the Angels on High,

To take the People of Israel as His lot -

And they make Him their King,

And declare, "Holy! Holy! Holy!"

Twice a day, Morning and Evening -

And all His Desire is that His Chosen People

Will study His Torah and pray to Him,

For they are inscribed in His Tefillin

"Who is like Your People, Israel,

One nation in the World!"

Thus it is the will of the Holy One,

That I speak in praise of Israel,

And though all the nations come and ask,

Who can it Be, for Whom you give up your lives,

O most beautiful of the nations?

But come with us,

And we'll satisfy all your desires!

And Israel responds with wisdom,

Only a bit of the truth do they reveal,

What is your greatness, say they to the nations,

Compared to the reward that He has in store for us!

And when He sheds upon us His great light,

While you go, then are destroyed in darkness!

Yerushalayim will be rebuilt!

The Exiles will return,

The Gates of Gan Eden will Re-Open,

And all their Brilliance will be Revealed to us -

We will enter those Gates and take Pleasure,

In the Radiance of the Divine Presence,

Whom we will point to, and say -

Here is our G-d, in Whom we hoped,

He will save us!

And each righteous one under his canopy will sit,

In the Sukkah made from the skin of Leviathan,

And in the future

He will make a dance for the righteous ones,

And a banquet in Paradise,

From that Great Fish and the Wild Ox ,

And from the Wine preserved from the Creation -

Happy are those who believe and hope and

Never abandon their faith forever!

Now you my listeners,

When you hear your praise in this song,

Be strong in your faith!

And you will merit to sit in the company

Of the holy and righteous ones

In the World-to-Come!

If you've listened well to my words,

Which were uttered in holy majesty -

Great is our G-d!

The First and the Last!

Happy are we, for He loved us,

And gave us His Torah.

Written in the 11th century. I find it truly amazing. Study the Torah. Never stop learning. When you finish, start all over. Praise Him. All the He desires is that His chosen peopls study His Torah and pray to Him.

May you come to believe - in order that you may be inscribed in His Tefillin.

May you never stop believing.

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