Thoughts from Jewish Education’s Leading Educators, Administrators, and Clergy.
by Dr. Gil Graff
Jewish tradition associates Shavuot with the experience of receiving Torah at Sinai, 50 days after liberation from slavery in Egypt. Passover marks freedom from bondage; Shavuot celebrates freedom to lead purposeful lives. As the Israelites are about to encounter Torah, the Torah describes Israel’s mission with the phrase: “kingdom of priests; holy nation.”
The 15th of the Hebrew calendar month of Shevat (Tu B’Shevat), this year, corresponding to January 30/31, marks the new year in the agricultural cycle, for purposes of various Jewish legal requirements relating to produce. The date has, in more recent times, been embraced as a Jewish Arbor Day. This year, Tu B’Shevat coincided with a striking, early morning eclipse of the moon.