4-12 Sivan 5778
18-26 May '18
Attributes of the month of Sivan: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: YOD VAV KEH KEH, contained in the initial Hebrew letters of Yedotav U-letzela Hamiskan Hasheinit - "...for its tenons and for the second side of the tabernacle..." (Exodus 26:19-20). The month's corresponding letter is: ZAYIN; Human attribute: MOTION; Body Part: LEFT FOOT; Tribe: ZEVULUN; Constellation: TE-OMIM (Gemini, the Twins).
Friday 18 May / 4 Sivan
Since the festival of Shavuot follows immediately after Shabbat, it is necessary to complete all preparations for the festival before the beginning of Shabbat. It is customary to bedeck the synagogue with flowers and greenery in commemoration of the Giving of the Torah, when Mt Sinai burst forth in verdure, and to prepare milk and cheese dishes for one or more of the festival meals.
Shabbat Friday night-Saturday 18-19 May / 5 Sivan
Torah reading: Israel & Diaspora: BAMIDBAR
On Friday night after the Shabbat evening prayers, we count the 49th day of the Omer. The Shabbat Torah Reading is Numbers 1:1-4:20; Haftara: Hosea 2:1-22. After the Shabbat afternoon service we read the sixth chapter of Pirkey Avot.
The first ten days of Nissan correspond to the letter Yod of the holy name A-D-N-Y "our Lord"; the four days of checking the Paschal lamb from 11-14 Nissan correspond to the Dalet; the fifty days from the first day of Pesach to the eve of Shavuot correspond to the Nun, and Shavuot itself corresponds to the Aleph, signifying our complete acceptance of the kingship of G-d through our service in this period.
Saturday night-Sunday 19-20 May / 6 Sivan
Festival of SHAVUOT, Season of Giving the Torah, First Day
For full information about the Festival of Shavuot click here.
It is customary for those who can do so to remain awake studying Torah for all or most of the night in preparation for receiving the Torah anew on Shavuot. It is customary to eat a meal of milk and cheese on Shavuot morning. Those who follow this with a meal of meat should take care to observe all the laws relating to the separation of milk and meat (reciting Birkhat HaMazon after the milk/cheese meal, rinsing/cleansing the mouth, then eating the meat meal on a separate tablecloth).
Sunday night-Monday 20-21 May / 7 Sivan
Israel: Issru Chag On Issru Chag, the day after the conclusion of the festival, it is customary to continue wearing festive clothing and to eat a festive meal to allow the Shavuot joy to linger with and strengthen us as we return to our weekday lives.
Diaspora: Second day of Festival of Shavuot
Outside Israel today is celebrated as a full festival day and all melachot (labors) are forbidden except for those relating to the preparation of food.
Today is the Yahrzeit of King David and of R. Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760, founder of Chassidism). In honor of King David some read the entire Book of Psalms today.
Monday night-Tuesday 21-22 May / 8 Sivan
Isru Chag (Diaspora)
On Issru Chag, the day after the conclusion of the festival, it is customary to continue wearing festive clothing and to eat a festive meal to allow the Shavuot joy to linger with and strengthen us as we return to our weekday lives.
Monday 21 May-Shabbat 26 May / 7-12 Sivan
The festival of Shavuot is followed by six days of "completion" (milu'im), when people could still bring their festive offerings to the Temple. These are days when the light of Shavuot continues to shine into our lives, and the supplications of Tachanun are not recited in the daily prayers.
Friday night-Saturday 25-26 May / 12 Sivan
Torah reading Numbers 4:21 -7:89 - the longest parshah in the Torah - completes the account of the duties of the Levites and gives certain commandments including the law of the Sotah (unfaithful wife) and Nazirite, going on to describe the inauguration of the Wilderness sanctuary. Haftara: Judges 13:2-25.telling the story of the birth of Samson, who was a Nazirite.
After the Shabbat afternoon service, some communities today begin a new cycle of weekly study of one chapter of Pirkey Avot, "Ethics of the Fathers".
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