The sixth of Sivan (Wednesday, May 31) is a biblical holy day known as Shabu`ot (Shavuot in modern Hebrew). This year this festival begins on the Tuesday evening and ends on Thursday evening, traditionally lasting two days. A festival is called a "Mo`ed" in Hebrew and means "appointed time."
This is the second of the G_d appointed biblical festivals (Leviticus 23:9-22; Numbers 28:26-28; Deuteronomy 16:9-12). Shabu`ot means "weeks" in Hebrew. In the English text of the New Testament, it is called "Pentecost" (Acts 2:1-12).
Shabu`ot is calculated as a 50-day counting beginning from the day after the festival of Matsah (unleavened bread) during Pesach (Passover). This marks the completion of the seven week counting from Passover.
This is a joyous time and in biblical teaching, this is the date that G_d gave the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) on Mt. Sinai more than 3,600 years ago. The giving of the Torah is a far-reaching and spiritual event, one that touches the soul of every believer. It is also compared to a wedding between G_d and his people.
This wonderful time is also the celebration of the first of the harvest. During the time when the Temple was still standing in Jerusalem, people would offer two wheat loaves and their choicest first-fruits as a thanksgiving offering to G_d for His bountiful harvest. It is customary to eat dairy foods and stay up all night on the first night reading the Torah. In Christianity, it is taught that this is the day that the Holy Spirit was manifested.
As with all biblical festivals, this is a "holy convocation" day, meaning that no usual work is done and the time is completely dedicated to blessing G_d. On the second day is a "Yizkor," which is a special memorial service for the departed.
All are encouraged to join with your Jewish and/or Messianic Jewish brethren during this time. To truly learn more, come and partake in Shabu`ot!
(Editor's note: The omission of the "O" in God is a Jewish Hasidic prohibition on spelling out the word "God.")
Rabbi Uziel ben Yochanan is from Derekh haMashiyach (Way of the Messiah), the Orthodox Messianic fellowship located in Cedaredge. To receive additional information on a variety of subjects contact, firstname.lastname@example.org.