Nava Nedaber Ivrit: Celebrating A First Shavuot In Israel
Each month in this space, L'Chayim will present a Hebrew lesson
entitled, "Hava Nedaber Ivrit!" (Let's Speak Hebrew), whose aim is to
encourage further study of Hebrew. The lesson will include a brief story
utilizing the Hebrew words to be studied, a vocabulary list with English
translations and a family activitiy which involves using the new words. The
lessons will be prepared by Nira Lev, associate professor of Hebrew
language and literature at the Midrasha College of Jewish Studies.
Following is this month's lesson:
Rachel is very excited hayom because machar is Shavuot and she is
going to celebrate her first chag in Yisrael. Rachel and her mishpachah
came to Yisrael just a few weeks ago as olim chadasheem from Russia,
where they never celebrated this chag. Rachel was curious and eager to
learn everything she could learn about Shavuot, so that she can teach her
mishpachah about it.
Shavuot is known hayom as "Chag Matan Torah," the time when the
Torah was given on Har Sinai. "Matan Torah" marked the end of Israel's
childhood and the beginning of their life as an am, living by the law and
accepting God's commandment. It is like a Yom Hooledet for our am.
The Bible calls this chag "Chag Hashavuot" because it is celebrated
seven Shavuot after Pesach, the time of the offering of the omer. Shavuot
is celebrated on the sixth of Sivan and is one of the "Shalosh
Regaleem," the three pilgrim festivals. Like other Jewish chageem, it is
not only a religious and historical chag, but it is also related to nature, to
agriculture. Shavuot is called in the Bible "Chag Hakatzir,"the Festival of
the Harvest, and also "Yom Habikkureem," the day of the first fruit
because it marked the season of the wheat harvest and it was on this day
that the first perot were offered at Beit Hamikdash as an expression of
gratitude to God.
In Yisrael, Shavuot is a joyous chag, marking the beginning of the
new season, kayitz, and celebrated with special chagigot in every Beit
Sefer. The children wear b'gadeem I'vaneem like the kohaneem in Belt
Hamikdash, with zereem made of fresh p'racheem on their heads. They
bring saleem full of perot to school which are later distributed to the poor.
There is a minhag to read, "Megillat Ruth," in Beit Haknesset. This is the
story of Ruth the Moabite who accepted God and the Torah and joined the
Jewish people. Ruth is believed to be the great-grandmother of King David.
Megillat Ruth also gives an account of the katzir of the grain and the
treatment of the poor in the time of the katzir. In Yisrael, "Megillat Ruth" is
read from a proper megillah, a written parchment scroll. Another minhag is
to eat only dairy foods on Shavuot. Shavuot is another chag that shows us
how Am Yisrael, the Torah and Eretz Yisrael are one and indivisible.
immigrants to Israel
olim chadasheem new immigrants
the yield of a sheaf of
the first fruits which
was cut in the field and
offered to the priest or
the Temple on the
second day of Passover
megillah a written parchment scroll
Ruth is one of the outstanding
women described in the Bible. Read
about her and about other women.
Learn about Deborah, Yael, Abigail,
Esther and Michal. Decorate your
home with green branches and
flowers as it is the custom in Israeli
ti l c
Bamidbar And Shavuot
TOYS AND GAMES
Hebrew Scrabble and Noah's Ark, available at
The Sidra Bamidbar deals with
the first "official" census of the
Israelites since receiving the Torah
at Mt. Sinai. Through this
"numbering," we understand the
organization and structure of the
shevatim (the 12 tribes), each
On S havuot we
commemorate the giving
of the Torah.
shevet under its own banner and in
its assigned place. The special roles
of the Levites and Kohanim during
the journey in the midbar (desert)
are also detailed.
— What was the purpose of the
— Why were the Kohanim and
Levites so concerned with
keeping the Mishkan
(portable Holy Ark) covered
while it was carried through
Shavuot, the "Feast of Weeks,"
is so named because it occurs
seven weeks after the second day
of Passover. On Shavuot we
commemorate the greatest event in
Jewish history, the giving of the
— Why are there no special
Shavuot rituals as there are
on the other festivals?
— Why is The Book of Ruth
read on Shavuot?
Barry V Levine,
General Studies, Akiva,
and Director of Education
and Youth, Beth Abraham
Jewish Cooking, available at Spitzer's.
Torah Profile, ArtScroll Book of Ruth, Best of Olo-
meinu, The Accused II, Lovesong, Tevyah The Dairyman,
My Sister's Wedding, Who Wrote the Bible?, The Yellow
Wind, all at Spitzer's. Raising Children to Care, Miriam
Adahan; Milton Goldsmith's The Rabbi and the Priest,
retold by Y.B. Arrarat; Me'am Lo'ez for Youth-Ruth,
adapted by Malka Touger; The Complete Jewish Wedding
Planner, Wendy Chernak Hefter; Shidduchim and Zivuyim
— The Torah's Perspective on Choosing Your Mate, Rabbi
Yehudah Lebovits; The Birds of Israel, Uzi Paz; Sefer
Hamitzvot Vols. 1 and 2, Malka Touger; all at Borenstein's.
Jackie Mason, The World According to Me, at
Spitzer's. The Joy of Torah, Chaim Banet; L'Chayim, Dan-
ny Baruch and Arie Broner; Simcha Simcha, Paul Zim;
With the Gevatron; Israel's Greatest Songs,
various artists; A Gift From Israel, various artists; all at
Spitzer's is located at 21770 W. 11 Mile, Southfield.
Borenstein's is located at 25242 Greenfield, Oak Park.
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