Wednesday, May 23, 2007


What a wonderful time to be Jewish!
It’s the holiday known as Shavu-ish.
We all eat cheese blintzes,
After-dinner mintzes,
And ask all our friends, “So? What’s new-ish?”

Shavuot is one of the three big Jewish pilgrimage festivals (sh’losh regalim): Back in Temple days, the Israelites all gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate and observe the festivals of Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot.

But Shavuot is the Rodney Dangerfield of festivals. Except among very observant Jews, Shavuot gets no respect...and even among them, it’s the runt of the Holiday Litter.

It’s only a two-day holiday*, for one thing. Compared to Pesach (eight days) and Sukkot (eight days, not counting Sh’mini Atzeret and Simchat Torah tacked on to the end), it’s downright puny.

Not only that, but the other festivals have distinct ritual foods and or objects associated with them. At Pesach, we eat a Seder meal incorporating matzoh and bitter herbs. At Sukkot, we wave the Four Species around (palm, myrtle, willow, and the lemon-like etrog). Nutty, sure, but it beats handling snakes. At Shavuot? Nada. Gornisht. Zippo.

Well, OK: We eat dairy foods. Blintzes, anyone?

To my Jewish friends and readers (who will kindly overlook the fact that I’m blogging on yontiff), Chag Sameach, Moadim l'Simchah, Happy Shavuot, and all dat.

To my non-Jewish friends and readers, Happy Wednesday and Thursday!

*These figures include the extra day that is added to Festival observances in the Diaspora.

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