If Rosh Hashanah is dubbed “birthday of the world,” then Shavuot would be the birthday of the Jewish people.
Sometimes relegated to minor holiday status, it is anything but, ranking right up there with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover and Sukkot.
Shavuot marks the most pivotal point in the history of the Jewish people — the beginning. Even though Shavuot has agricultural connotations as the festival of the first harvest in the Holy Land, the true and original meaning of the festival is to commemorate G-d’s giving the Torah (His law) to the Israelites through his proxy Moses on Mount Sinai.
At that moment, when the Israelites accepted the responsibilities of adhering to G-d’s laws, they went from being the Israelites to being the Jewish people. Our identity was born.
Shavuot is a day of Torah appreciation, even more than every other day of the year. Just as on our personal birthday we are grateful to our parents for giving us life, on Shavuot we are grateful to G-d for giving us our Jewish lives. Happy Birthday to us all!
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