Jewish Holidays and Festivals

The Feast of First Fruits, Shavuot

See Lev 23:10-14.

Shavuot is known as the Feast of Weeks in English and as Pentecost in Ancient Greek, is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (late May or early June).

Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai, although the association between the giving of the Torah (Matan Torah) and Shavuot is not explicit in the Biblical text.

The holiday is fifty days after the second day of Passover. It was originally a harvest festival, but now also commemorates the giving of the Mosaic Law - our Torah (Old Testament). The word Shavuot means "weeks". It is also called the Festival of the Receiving of Our Torah.

It marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot. The days of Sefirah (Counting of the Omer), beginning immediately on the morrow of the first day of Pesach and ending on the eve of Shavuot, connect these two great festivals.

Mount Sinai

Torah was given by God to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai more than 3300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot the Jewish people renew their acceptance of God's gift. The giving of the Torah was a far-reaching spiritual event - one that touched the essence of the Jewish soul for all times. Jewish sages in Talmud have compared it to a wedding between God and the Jewish people.

Shavuoth also means "oaths," for on this day God swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.

The Jews accepted the Torah by saying: "All that God has spoken, will we do and obey." (Exodus 24:7)

Observant Jews include these traditions in their celebration:

  • Women and girls light holiday candles on both the first and second evenings of the holidays.
  • It is customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot
  • All men, women and children should attend synagogue on the first day of Shavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.
  • As on other holidays, special meals are eaten, and no "work" may be performed
  • It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. Among other reasons, this commemorates the fact that upon receiving the Torah, including the kosher laws, the Jewish people could not cook meat in their pots, which had yet to be rendered kosher.
  • The Feast of Shavuot is known in the New Testament as Pentecost, a day where there was a great manifestation of the Holy Ghost and 3,000 Hebrew souls rose from the dead.

LDS Symbols of Shavuot: Following the Restoration of the Gospel on Shavuot April 3, 1836, the Lord appeared in a vision to the prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple. Moses, Elias and Elijah also appeared. They committed to Joseph and Oliver the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, the leading of the ten tribal families from the north, the administering of the keys of the Abrahamic dispensation, and the keys of the sealing powers. (D&C 110:3-4-7.)

Many significant lessons can be learned from this festival and re-receiving our covenants with God. For all of God's children. As Latter-day Saints we have covenanted to follow our living prophets, observe the Savior's command to repent, forgive, serve others with a full heart, study all our scriptures and be worthy to receive revelation from the Holy Ghost. We strive to be worthy to live in the presence of Deity and our families again, in the eternities.

The Feast of Shavuot is known in the New Testament as Pentecost, a day where there was a great manifestation of the Holy Ghost and 3,000 Hebrew souls rose from the dead. Jews begin a seven week set of rituals represented by harvesting wheat and barley.