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rodney dangerfield

05/28/2020 03:20:51 PM

May28

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

The Passover dishes are safely stored away in the basement, after having schlepped up and down one very long flight of stairs at least two dozen times.  Perhaps it’s my imagination, but the climb seems a bit more tiring each year.  The good news is that we remembered to store away the Pesadik fleishik oven mitts with the Passover supplies.

            Did you ever notice that no matter how many times you vacuum the dining room, you keep finding matza crumbs?  Not only is matza the ideal post-nuclear catastrophe food, but it is also the messiest food known to mankind.  By the time you have managed to finally remove all the crumbs, it is next Passover and the crumbs can be part of the search for chametz.

            Many people may not realize that there is one more holiday in the Jewish calendar before Rosh Hashanah (excluding Tisha B’av).  It is the Rodney Dangerfield of Jewish holidays, coming seven weeks after Passover.  Quick, can you name it?  If you answered “Shavuot”, you are correct and deserve an extra blintz.  Why is Shavuot such an ignored holiday?  It celebrates a momentous event in the life of the Jewish people: God’s revelation to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai and the presentation of the Torah.  While Simchat Torah is indeed a festive occasion, as we conclude the annual reading of the Torah and begin anew, one would think that the commemoration of the receiving of the Torah might merit more respect.  Alas, it suffers in silence, with a limited attendance at best, even with Yizkor on the second day.

            There are some unusual additions to the service that merit our attention.  There is a tradition that tells us that the children of Israel were so excited to be receiving the Torah that they stayed up all night in anticipation.  We reenact that by assembling for a Tikkun Leil Shavuot – a preparation for the day. The Jewish Federation assembled a stellar gathering of teachers (including yours truly) for this year’s virtual Tikkun. Please visit the Federation website to register. Jewish texts and other elements of study are done that evening.  In some circles, people study throughout the night – pulling a Jewish all-nighter – and begin services upon sunrise to celebrate Shavuot as soon as possible. I will be holding services Thursday evening at 8:15PM followed by a one-hour text study. You are invited to gorge on your favorite dairy dessert and join me.  See our website for details. There will be Yom Tov services on Friday and Shabbat as well.

 On the first day, we recite a medieval poem called “Akdamut”, the melody of which is very ancient and is the foundation of the Festival Kiddush.  We read of the presenting of the Torah on Mt. Sinai (aka, The Ten Commandments) and stand in re-enactment of that day.  On the second day, we read from the book of Ruth, who took the unique step of accepting Torah upon herself.  And then there are the blintzes, a gem of a treat that seem tastier on Shavuot than on any other day.  Join me for the festivities.  Why not make Shavuot a part of your life? Go to our website at www.treeoflifepgh.org for details. Then you can tell me if you prefer farmer cheese or pot cheese. Hag Sameach.

 

 

Sun, July 12 2020 20 Tammuz 5780