Chag Sameach Shavuot / Pentecost
You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come. For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, And show favor to her dust. So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, And all the kings of the earth Your glory. For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer. This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. (Psalm 102:13-18)
As a believer, I have a strong connection to this ancient Jewish holiday. You see, this was the day that the 120 Disciples were gathered together in the upper room in Jerusalem waiting for the promised Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to baptize them into the new covenant—the Church was born! It is as monumental to believers in Yeshua as the giving of the law was to Moses. Besides Passover, which we should celebrate as the death and resurrection of Yeshua, Shavuot is truly a Feast for the Gentile (non-Jewish), believers. Significantly, the book of Ruth is read. Why? Well, Ruth was a Gentile Moabite woman who was “grafted in” to the Jewish faith by declaring that she would follow her mother-in-law Naomi’s people and their God, and she married a prominent Hebrew man, Boaz, the “Goel” (Hebrew “Ga-al), of Naomi’s family line. A Goel is a “redeemer” in Hebrew. She was a Gentile, but more than that, she was a Moabite—one of the worst types of Gentiles—the Jews were forbidden to marry Moabites. She was not born into the Jewish bloodline, yet she “chose” it and she was married into the line of the Messiah. This is an amazing story and one of the most beautiful pictures in the Old Testament of God’s plan for a future time when He would invite the Gentiles to be grafted into the Vine (Christ) and to be the bride of Messiah. We, as non-Jews choose Yeshua to be our Redeemer. We are not born into the Jewish bloodline, but we now can choose to be grafted into it through the Goel—our Redeemer Yeshua! This is our anniversary!
In the genealogy of Jesus Christ, there are two specific women mentioned in the bloodline of Messiah: Ruth and Rahab. Both of them were Gentile women from idolatrous nations and it has always been so significant to me personally that Jesus had the blood of two Gentile, not so pure and squeaky clean, women, flowing through His veins. Women were not so highly regarded in those ancient cultures, yet the Bible speaks highly of many women and God used women in mighty ways. Jesus went against all the norms by having as strong a relationship with the women who followed Him as He did with the men. The women were the last at the cross and first at the tomb. There were women in the upper room that day of Shavuot when the Church was born.
My past is not so squeaky clean, but His blood flows through my veins now that I am grafted in to Him—the Vine. My past is not so squeaky clean, yet next week He is sending me to speak to many people on a book tour, not necessarily to believers, and I am in awe and humbled that I am not just forgiven, I am redeemed—He has redeemed everything that was evil in my life and my past and brought beauty from those ashes. Dayanu (it would have been enough), that I had been redeemed from my past, but the fact that I am actually able to serve Him—that is reason to celebrate this holiday!
I am especially thankful today for Shavout. I wish the body of Christ had a tradition of grand celebration for this ancient holiday, because it was meant for us!
This Shavuot is of special importance in light of the events taking place in Israel right now. The enemies of the Jewish people are stirring up the old ancient hatred of the Jewish people and this Shavuot falls on the same day as the celebrations of the 1967 war when the Jews won Jerusalem back and entered into the Old City and stood at the Wall for the first time in over 1900 years! Our President announced a week ago that his plan is to create a “peace process” wherein the ancient, Jewish city of Jerusalem would return to the pre-1967 borders, which means that the Jews will no longer be able to worship at the thousand years old stones of the Temple Mount. It is an abomination—this announcement, and has strong implications for us as believers, grafted in to these ancient places in Yeshua. Pray for Jerusalem tonight, pray all night if you can.
Holiday of the Torah Begins Tuesday Night
By Hillel Fendel (Arutz Sheva)
The Jewish holiday of Shavuot is set to begin Tuesday night – lasting for its one Biblical day (from sunset to the next sunset) in Israel, and two days in the rest of the world.
Shavuot (Pentecost, Feast of Weeks), as well as Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (Tabernacles), are the three pilgrimage festivals on which Jews are bidden to visit Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of people are in fact expected to arrive at the Western Wall throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, though the Biblical commandment to visit Jerusalem on these days applies fully only when the Holy Temple is built.
The current custom of gathering at the Wall for the holiday began spontaneously on the Shavuot holiday of 1967 (5727), which followed the Six Day War and the liberation of Jerusalem by only a few days. Realizing that masses of people would descend upon the Wall and its narrow walkway, the authorities razed the old buildings within 100 meters from the Wall in order to make room. It was the first holiday in 1,900 years in which throngs of Jews congregated at the Western Wall.
The holiday of Shavuot marks the Jewish People’s receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai 3,323 years ago. It also marks the day after the 49-day Sefirat HaOmer counting period, which begins on the Passover holiday. The counting denotes the fact that the ultimate purpose of the Exodus from Egypt was for the Jewish People to receive the Torah and begin its national/spiritual existence as the People of the Book.
Features of the joyous Shavuot holiday include:
* remaining awake all night to study Torah; known as Tikkun Leil Shavuot.
* the bringing of the Bikurim (First Fruits) to the Holy Temple (temporarily suspended, until the Temple is rebuilt); greenery is placed arund the home and synagogue to recall this.
* the time of the wheat harvest;
* the public reading of the Book of Ruth for several reasons, among them: Ruth accepted Judaism as the Jews did on the holiday, the story takes place during the Shavuot season, and King David, her descendant, died on Shavuot.
* a wide-spread custom of eating dairy foods on Shavuot, as the Torah is compared to “milk and honey under the tongue”. (for more reasons, see our Shavuot dairy recipe)
In Israel, Shavuot is a legal holiday. There is no public transportation; schools, offices and most stores are closed; newspapers are not published.