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Prayer, Plain and Simple

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Today is Shavuot, the Jewish holiday that commemorates, the day God gave us the Ten Commandments and the Torah. Shavuot is one of the three major festivals (the other two being Passover and Sukkot). In biblical times, Jews would travel from all over the Mediterranean to Jerusalem to make sacrifices at the Temple during these three festivals. Historically, Shavuot commemorates God’s encounter with Moses on Mount Sinai, when he gave the Torah to his people Israel.

Last night Jews all over the world began their celebration with all night studies of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. As the story goes, the scriptures say, “It came to pass on the third day when it was morning, that there were thunder claps and lightning flashes, and a thick cloud was upon the mountain, and a very powerful blast of a shofar, and the entire nation that was in the camp shuddered.”  In other words, God was already on the top of the Mountain waiting for his people to wake up and hear his words! They had overslept, so he had to wake them! So on the first evening of the holiday Jews spend all night studying Torah, to remember that they screwed up and overslept and that they will never so again!

But Shavuot doesn’t end in an all-nighter. When God finished giving his words, Israel suddenly realized that their plates were not “Kosher,” as the new law required. So while they made their plates and utensils they ate only dairy.

So….today the Jews do this as well. For the next 48 hours they eat pizza, Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, gourmet cheese and anything else of milk. It’s Hagan-Daz for dinner!

“God, may we never again sleep through your coming. You have given us your word, your law, your love, and most of all yourself. We will stir ourselves and stay alert. Remind us that you are always waiting to be with us, to speak with us, to listen and guide us by your Law and your love. Today, during Shavuot, we are reminded to thank you not only for your Law, but for your people Israel who have received and then shared this Torah with all the world. We are all the better for knowing you and what you require of us. We also ask for your grace where we do not match your Law’s requirements. Give us strength to remain vigilant… And God, bless the ice cream!”

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