I love the holiday of Shavuot…I don’t know why really. Passover is too much work. I do love Sukkot…Simchat Torah…Purim…Rosh Hashana – so really, oh…Hanuka…the point is…I really love all the holidays, but there is something about Shavuot…it isn’t just that it is on this holiday that we were blessed with the gift of the Torah…it isn’t just the dairy meals and the OMG cheese cake (especially the one that Amira Frij makes).
Maybe it’s the concept that every year, hundreds of thousands of Jews all over the world stay up all night to fix a mistake made almost 3,500 years ago…talk about having a long memory! And what was the great mistake that we remember and try to fix? They went to sleep.
Yup…the greatest moment in Jewish history…and they were asleep.
So to fix that…we stay up and learn Torah all night. I love the concept that in some way we can atone for something our ancestors did – more, that we feel a responsibility to do so.
How can you explain a people who has a memory that is thousands of years old. I’ve had people walk up to me and say, only half joking, that they remember me and I’ll look confused and they’ll answer, “don’t you remember, we were standing together at Mount Sinai.”
And we were. So it is proper and right that each year, in each generation, we try to fix that oversight. Shavuot is this amazing one-day holiday that sort of pulls all the other holidays together. It’s modestly only one day; it’s easy. But most of all, as much as all the holidays tie us back to thousands of years – there’s just something about this one that touches me every year.
Happy Shavuot – and don’t forget to eat a ton of cheese cake!
Reference: You can learn more about the tradition of staying up all night here.