This weekend, Jews around the world will be celebrating the Festival of Shavuot, which is also known as the Festival of the Giving of the Torah. According to the Torah, it took precisely 49 days, or seven weeks, for the ancient Israelites to travel from Egypt to the foot of Mount Sinai. Our celebration each year follows the Torah’s commandment: “And you shall proclaim that day (the 50th day) to be a holy convocation!” (Leviticus 23:21).The name Shavuot, “Weeks”, symbolizes the completion of this seven-week journey.
Among the many observances associated with this holiday is the ceremony of Confirmation. Through this beautiful service, the community comes together to celebrate the transmission of Torah to the next generation as our high school students publically affirm their faith and their commitments to our heritage.
Please join us this Friday night, May 18, as each of our confirmation students embrace the scroll and receive a personal blessing in front of the ark. Through this powerful ritual, our entire community dramatically re-enacts the receiving of Torah in a very special way.
In the spirit of Shavuot, I encourage all of us to set aside some sacred time for Torah. We might explore a Jewish concept on the internet, read a passage from the Bible or even take a walk outside and find inspiration through God’s works of creation. Some congregations in Houston offer Torah study sessions called Leil Tikun Shavuot. These all night sessions will begin Saturday evening and continue through sun rise. They are open all who may be interested, so you might consider attending a night of learning.
Whatever path you might choose to take, spend some time this weekend considering the glorious truths that are reveled to us every day. Spend time with family; spend time in nature; and most of all, spend time considering your place in the ever-unfolding story of our faith and heritage.