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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 6 Shavuot or Feast of Weeks.
In this lesson, we'll talk about the holiday of the Feast of Weeks, or שבועות in Hebrew, which has many names and even more traditions associated with it. Shavu’ot falls on the 6th day of Sivan - סיוון, in the Hebrew calendar, and lasts one day. In 2015, people celebrated it on May 24th, and in 2016, they will celebrate it on June 12th.
Let’s learn about the white holiday.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
What special title does Shavu’ot have, that’s shared with the holidays of Passover which is פסח (Pessah) and סוכות (Sukkot) in Hebrew?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
In Judaism, the first fruits of the year are called bikkurim - ביכורים . When the Holy Temple existed, people would bring their bikkurim there, starting on Shavu’ot. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, most of the moshavs and kibbutzes - קיבוצים (Kibbutzim) have held “bikkurim-bringing” ceremonies - טקסי ביכורים (Tiksey Bikkurim). During the ceremonies, a show is held, complete with songs, dances, and a parade with decorated agricultural tools. Bikkurim ceremonies are also conducted at kindergartens and schools. Children dress in white, bring a basket filled with fruit, and participate in the festivities.
According to tradition, the holiday of Shavu’ot is the “holiday of the giving of the Torah” - חג מתן תורה (hag matan tora), when the Torah was given to the people of Israel. Therefore, every year, observant Jews hold a (tikkun leil shavu’ot) תיקון ליל שבועות—a special kind of Torah study for the holiday of Shavu’ot. On this night, participants stay awake all night and study Torah.
Today, secular Jews also perform this tradition, although in a different way. The night is dedicated to learning about current events and social or philosophical issues.
One well-known Shavu’ot tradition is eating dairy products—cheeses, cakes, casseroles, and more. The source of this tradition is that the laws of Kashrut - כשרות, or Jewish dietary law, were given along with the Torah, and since this occurred on the Sabbath, the Jews could not keep the dietary commandments concerning eating meat, so they only ate dairy products. Today, many Israelis celebrate Shavu’ot with a picnic, out in nature, where they eat only dairy products.
Many call Shavu’ot the “holiday of water” - חג המים (hag ha-maim), because there is a tradition of squirting water on each other, and sometimes even on people they don’t know. There’s a belief that anyone who is sprayed with water on Shavu’ot won't be harmed all year.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What special title does Shavuot carry, which it shares with the holidays of Passover and Sukkot?
Sukkot is one of the three pilgrimage holidays or רגלים (regalim). Shalosh regalim- שלוש רגלים, is the name for three holidays from the Torah in which Israel goes on pilgrimage to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, bringing a gift of fruit and produce. These holidays are Passover, Shavu’ot, and Sukkot.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? Are there any agricultural holidays in your culture?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!

8 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Are there any agricultural holidays in your culture?

Shelley
Monday at 05:44 AM
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ok-Before but not after. I am just feeling my way with descriptive words and smichut. Thanks for clarifying.

Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Sunday at 11:55 PM
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Hi Shelley,


Thanks,


Yes, you can add יחסית before the word חדש.


Roi

Team Hebrewpod101.com

Shelley
Tuesday at 05:43 AM
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ok-better verb usage. But I can still use" relatively" in the sentence? Thank you.

Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Monday at 11:21 PM
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Hi Shelley,


Yes, it's correct, the verb "חייב" doesn't belong in this context, מוכרח is better.


Yours,

Roi

Team Hebrewpod101.com

Shelley
Monday at 10:25 AM
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Shalom-not sure I understand. It looks like I followed that pattern, but I used a different verb. Did you not like the qualifier -"relatively?" Thanks for your clarification.

Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Sunday at 09:17 PM
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Hi Shelley,


Thanks for your post!


In Hebrew, we follow the 'it must've pattern of English - it must be a new custom - זה מוכרח להיות מנהג חדש


Yours,

Roi

Team Hebrewpod101.com

Shelley
Sunday at 04:58 AM
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הוא חדש בשבילי לקרוא חג השבועות חג המים. It is new for me to call the holiday of shavuot the holiday of water. It must be a relatively new custom. זה הייב להיות מנחג חדש יחסית