PARASHA OF THE WEEK

SHAVUOT

First Day Torah Reading

Exodus - Chapters 19 and 20.

A summary of the content: The Children of Israel camp opposite Mount Sinai, where they are told that G-d has chosen them to be His “kingdom of priests” and “holy nation.”  The people respond by proclaiming, “All that G-d has spoken, we shall do.”

On the sixth day of the third month (Sivan), seven weeks after the Exodus, the entire nation of Israel assembles at the foot of Mount Sinai.  G-d descends on the mountain amidst thunder, lightning, billows of smoke and the blast of the shofar, and summons Moses to ascend.

G-d proclaims the Ten Commandments, commanding the people of Israel to believe in G-d, not to worship idols or take G-d’s name in vain, to honour their parents, keep the Shabbat, and not to murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness or covet another’s property.  The people cry out to Moses that the revelation is too intense for them to bear, begging him to receive the Torah from G-d and convey it to them.

Haftorah - First Day

Ezekiel - 28 3:12

The haftorah for the first day of Shavuot describes Ezekiel’s Vision of the Chariot reminiscent of the revelation experienced by the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, on the very first Shavuot of history.

The prophet Ezekiel son of Buzi relays the vision he had of a chariot led by four creatures that resemble men and describes their physical appearance and actions in detail, “When they [the living beings] would go, they [the wheels] would go, and when they would stand, they would stand, and when they would lift themselves up from the ground, the wheels would lift themselves correspondingly to them, for the will of the living being was in the wheels.  Like the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness round about; that was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the L-rd, and when I saw, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice speaking.”

The haftorah ends with Ezekiel's mention of the prayers of the angels to G-d.

Second Day Torah Reading

Deuteronomy - Chapters 14 to 16

This detail the laws of the three pilgrimage festivals - Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot - on which all Jews came “to see and be seen before the face of G-d “in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Haftorah - Second Day

Habakkuk 2:20, 3:1-19

The haftorah of the second day of Shavuot is a prophecy of Habakkuk.

The prophet recalls the wonders that G-d had done for Israel at the time of the Giving of the Torah at Sinai.  He also speaks of the punishments that G-d meted out to the enemies of Israel

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