Times: Shavout starts tonight – make an Eruv Tavshilin – light candles at 4:53pm. Light candles for second day of Shavuot/Shabbat on Friday before 4:52pm. Shavuot/Shabbat ends Saturday night at 5:53pm.
Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is still virtual as we await people returning to work in the city. That means we all daven at an agreed time, which is 1.00pm. Details at the WhatsApp group.
Study: Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at 1:10pm via zoom, following mincha at 1.00pm. BYO lunch. Details here.
Thought of the Week with thanks to David Prins. We refer to the festival of Shavuot as the time of giving of the Torah. But the Torah itself describes Shavuot purely as an agricultural festival. The Torah never connects Shavuot with the giving of the Torah.
Shavuot is the only Torah festival without a date. It is defined as being at the end of a seven-week period after Pesach. The Gemara teaches that when we don’t have a fixed calendar Shavuot can be on 5, 6 or 7 Sivan, depending on how many days are in the months of Nissan and Iyar. The Torah also does not specify the date on which the Torah was given. The Gemara gives two opinions – 6 or 7 Sivan. We also don’t know for sure the location of the biblical Mount Sinai where the Torah was given.
The fact that we don’t know specifically when or where the Torah was given should remind us that Torah is for all time and all places. It is not bound by time or space. On Pesach, we re-enact and remember the exodus from Egypt. In contrast, on Shavuot, we do not re‑enact a one-time event. Rather, we reaffirm our ongoing commitment to Torah. The purpose of Shavuot is to perpetuate Torah, not to commemorate Torah.