Celebrating the Gift of Biblical Rules

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Starting May 14th, Jewish people around the world celebrate one of the most significant holidays in the Biblical calendar: Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, known to some Christians as “Pentecost.”  This Festival ranks alongside Passover, and far above Hanukah, in importance, but it’s widely ignored, even by most Jews.

The reasons? Unlike Hanukah and Passover, there’s no corresponding Christian celebration. Also, Shavuot commemorates revelation of the Torah and its commandments on Mount Sinai, and contemporary society doesn’t see rules and obligations as cause for rejoicing. But liturgy refers to the holiday as the “Season of Giving our Torah” – using the Hebrew word for gift, mattanah, that denotes presents as indications of affection.

It may be unfashionable to see divine laws as generous gifts, but that’s the crucial message of the Shavuot festival.

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Comments (5)

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  1. American  •  May 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    If there is no God, then all morals are ultimately meaningless.

    • hb  •  May 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Morals are proof God must exist. Without His presence our temporal life would be much like hell everywhere. Apart from Him we cannot love at all. His grace works in the temporal realm wherever and in whomever He chooses for the sake of His own glory and for all those who love Him and have faith in His Messiah, who alone can justify and make us acceptable for eternal glory. Of course, that’s my “opinion” but I believe it reflects the truth of God’s word in both the old and new testaments.

  2. LawrenceM  •  May 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Of course the Feast of Pentecost has great meaning for many Christians – and is slowly growing in recognition today. Picturing first-fruits – Christ being the first-fruit of God. Just as the Torah is a gift from God and was given to the people after they left the land of captiviity, So too the gift of the holy spirit came upon the apostles, and is given to the people at the First Pentecost following Christ’s final passover. Ultimately Pentecost comes to symbolize the gathering of God’s elect, special people, a chosen priesthood into His Kingdom. The first, or spring harvest, before the greater harvest at the Messiah’s return.

  3. Paul Thayer  •  May 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    The feast of Pentecost does continue Shavuot, altho’ neither feast is nearly as well known as it deserves to be. Of course, because neither feast involves the giving of gifts, neither has a place on the commercial calendar. Then, too, because each feast depends upon the interplay of the phases of the moon and the spring equinox, neither is tied to a fixed date (such as Christmas and New Year’s Day, and St. Valentine’s Day) or to a narrow range of dates (such as Thanksgiving Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day).
    Happy Shavuot!

  4. Clayton  •  May 21, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I agree with and like that last line: “divine laws are generous gifts”.
    Perhaps too many of our troubles are due to the abandoning of His laws.

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