Sunday, May 24
Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks” and refers to the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, which occurs seven weeks after Passover, and also marks the end of the
Counting of the Omer.
The TJC celebration of Shavuot will begin with a Mountain Walk and Meditation led by Hannah Salander and Susan Ressler. Meet at 10:30 AM
at the Manzanitas Trail Head, Ski Valley Road.
This trail is on your left, heading north, just after the Taos East Condominiums. It is the second trail on Ski Valley Road -
Yerba is the first.
12:00 PM Pot Luck Dairy Lunch
All are welcome,
at the home of Annette and Richard Rubin.
For directions and questions please email
Susan at email@example.com
It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot because Jewish tradition compares the words of Torah to the sweetness of milk and honey. Blintzes and cheesecake are among the popular foods to make and enjoy for the holiday.
The TJC will provide a cheesecake.
Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and actively choosing to participate in Jewish life.
Join Hannah on Saturday, May 23
Contemplative Torah Study at the TJC
A Practice of Preparing and
Polishing the Heart
Counting the Omer:
Between the second night of Pesach and Shavuot many Jews engage in the practice of counting the Omer; a 7 week meditation on divine aspects, or faces of God. These aspects are described in the lower 7 Sephirot of the Tree of Life, Chesed-lovingkindness, Gevurah-strength, Tiferet-beauty, Netzach- endurance, Hod-splendor, Yesod-foundation, and Malchut-wholeness. Each day a different quality of these manifestations is explored, like the many cuts of a fine jewel, revealing the rainbow that is the Holy One, who’s qualities we aim to embody. Like polishing this fine jewel, how the spark of the Holy lives uniquely inside each of us, we turn these qualities over in a contemplative manner to make them shine more beautifully through us.
The practice of counting the Omer originates in Biblical times as an agrarian ritual of taking an Omer, a bundle of barley into the Temple as an offering to God in gratitude for the fruits of harvest, and blessing a continued good growing season. Another offering was taken 49 days later when the wheat was ready to be cut. Eventually this practice became more spiritually oriented, and a way to ready the heart for receiving the revelation of Torah at Sinai, which we celebrate on Shavuot 49 days after we begin the counting.
There are many wonderful books on this practice including Counting the Omer: A Kabbalistic Meditation Guide, by Rabbi Min Kantrowitz, Gaon Publishers. I encourage you to explore more about this deep and ancient practice. I will be writing a short weekly piece in the 7 weeks that follow to inspire our journey together through these seven gates.