The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Say to the Israelite people: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month there shall be the Feast of Booths (Sukkot) to the Lord, to last seven days. The first day shall be a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations; seven days you shall bring offerings by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall observe a sacred occasion and bring an offering by fire to the Lord; it is a solemn gathering: you shall not work at your occupation. (Leviticus/Vayikra 23.33-36)
- Sukkot 2012: Dates, Customs Of The Jewish Feast Of The Tabernacle Explained (huffingtonpost.com)
- Sukkot 2012 (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- Now is the time of our joy (joelmlay.com)
- Postcard from Israel – Succot (cifwatch.com)
I will be to Israel like dew;
He shall blossom like the lily,
He shall strike root like a Lebanon tree. . .
And from the day on which you bring the sheaf of elevation offering–the day after the sabbath–you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete. You must count until the day after the seventh week–fifty days; then you shall bring an offering of new grain to the Lord. . . . On that same day you shall hold a celebration; it shall be a sacred occasion for you; you shall not work at your occupations. This is a law for all time in all your settlements, throughout the ages.
At sundown tonight, we begin the festival of Shavuot, known as “Festival of Weeks” to many people. Shavuot is a time of celebration and giving thanks for the new grain of the summer wheat harvest in Israel. The festival gets its name because we were commanded to count 49 days from the second day of Passover. At this time the grain was harvested, taking care to leave the edges of the field untouched so that the poor would be able to glean a little wheat for themselves. Offerings were then presented in the Temple.
Shavuot is also the time of celebrating the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, an event that occurred at this time of the year. Many people will stay up the entire night in order to study Torah, a custom that has been observed for many generations to honor this defining event in our history and our lives.
The story of Ruth is told during Shavuot, too, for the following reasons: it occurred at the time of the festival of Shavuot and Ruth was among the poor who gleaned wheat from the edges of Boaz‘s fields; Boaz was taken with Ruth’s modesty and the two would marry and bear a child; Ruth was a Moabite convert who chose to receive the Torah when she converted; Ruth is the great grandmother of David the King (Dovid HaMelech), a mother to Jewish royalty. All of this is told in the biblical book of Ruth.
As a convert to Judaism, the Festival of Shavuot has special meaning to me. We begin our celebration at sundown tonight. To all my Jewish friends, Chag Shavuot Sameach (Happy Shavuot!)
Once I began blogging, I found that I rather enjoyed it! Up until now, however, my blogs have been more reflective on personal experiences and memories of my past adventures and growing up. My original site, http://ceceliafutch.wordpress.com has been written with my children in mind; a memoir of sorts for them. The stories that have passed down to me from my grandparents have been awe inspiring, and given me a sense of my own history and worth. I intend to write much more along that line…but on my original blog.
In my former life, before becoming Jewish, I was a minister by profession. But then I converted to Judaism, and my life has been very different since then. This was a very good thing for me, the right thing to do. My spiritual journey has humbled and amazed me, yet I never lost the desire to share spiritual nuggets (learned from experience and from wonderful teachers along the way) and offer encouragement to those I come in contact with. This page is intended for that purpose. Chana is my Hebrew name. Chana, the mother of Shmuel (Samuel) HaMelech (the king), taught us how to pray. Today, our jewish prayers are still modeled after the prayer she prayed when in the temple praying for a child. After the birth of Shmuel, she sang for joy for prayer answered, thus the name of this blog. I am learning to pray and sing the Psalms/Tehillim. Our journey here is a song, oftentimes joyful, but also mournful in seasons of sorrow or distress. Always, though, our prayers and songs are the ways in which we communicate with HaShem thus strengthening that spiritual bond. I plan to reflect on those songs: Tehillim/Psalms, Emunah/Faith, Weekly Parsha/weekly Torah reading. I may add more categories as I go along, but this is a start. Without promise, I plan to write once a week on this site. I hope that you feel free to add your insights and reflections in your comments.
May we all merit continued growth in our spiritual journeys.