Next Tuesday night, the third and, nowadays, least noticed of the three harvest festivals, Shavuot (“weeks,” as in 7 weeks after Passover) begins and the counting of the omer (sefirat ha’omer or just sefirah) is complete.  In addition to the harvest, we celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai.  It’s actually a lovely little holiday, with much less associated stress than Passover or Sukkot.  Other customs include eating dairy (e.g., cheesecake, blintzes), all-night (or at least part-night) study sessions, chanting Akdamut (a medieval liturgical poem in Aramaic), and reading the Book of Ruth, a lovely harvest-time romance involving the ancestors of King David.

The Torah readings for the first day: Exodus 19:1-20:23 – Ten Commandments, Numbers 28:26-31 – Shavuot sacrifices.
The haftarah is Ezekiel 1:1-28 & 3:12.  The hallucinogenic vision related here is one that has prompted people to wonder if Ezekiel was an epileptic. I think it’s one of those things the rabbis don’t want you to read until you’re at least 40.

Second day (Reform only celebrate one day):  Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17
Tithing, the sabbatical year remission of debts, and (what else) the
holiday sacrifices.  We just read this on the 2nd day of Passover, we’ll read it in several weeks in the regular weekly portion (Parashat Re’eh) and in the fall for Shemini Atzeret. You can catch this again in several weeks (the portion
Re’eh in Deuteronomy) and in the fall on Shemini Atzeret.  Numbers
28:26-28:31 – same as first day  Haftarah:  Habakkuk 2:20-3:19 or 3:1-19  This was probably meant to be performed by a chorus accompanied musical instruments.

An early Hag Sameach (Happy holiday),



Selection from
The Children’s Bible in a Nutshell

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton
Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the
evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These
plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them
His Top Ten Commandments.  These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff.

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.
———————–  [sent out in 2001]

A Child’s Interpretation of the Ten Commandments

My nephew, who has just started the first grade, was asked to memorize the Ten Commandments. Upon reciting the commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” he was asked what this commandment meant.

With absolute seriousness he replied, “That means that you shouldn’t want to become an adult.”

List of the Ten Commandments

A Hebrew School student was asked to list the Ten Commandments in any order.

He wrote, “3, 6, 1, 8, 4, 5, 9, 2, 10, 7.”


Shavuot Anecdote [sent out in 2006]

While visiting Israeli president Moshe Katsav’s home in Jerusalem in 2002, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was offered a selection of home-grown vegetables by a delegation of Israeli farmers as a symbolic gift marking the Jewish Shavuot holiday. Indicating a red pepper, Katsav jokingly told Kohl that if he had any real political enemies, that particular vegetable would make a nice ‘gift’. Unfortunately for Kohl, something was ‘lost’ in the translation and he promptly took an immense bite out of the pepper.

Within seconds, Kohl had turned beet red and was gasping for air and perspiring heavily. Katsav’s aides quickly brought him a large glass of water.

[Sources:, 15th May 2002]


From 2003:

Poor Man’s Blintzes

An impoverished Jew in an Eastern European village one day asked his wife to make him blintzes.

Wife: “Only rich people can afford to make blintzes.”

Husband: “What can’t we afford?”

Wife: “Eggs.”

Husband: “I’ll have my blintzes without eggs.”

Wife: “We can’t afford the cottage cheese.”

Husband: “Leave out the cottage cheese.”

Wife: “We can’t afford the raisins.”

Husband: “I don’t need raisins in my blintzes.”

The wife makes the blintzes without eggs, cottage cheese, or raisins. The husband takes two bites and says, “You know, I don’t see what rich people see in blintzes.”

If God were a college student:

Instead of God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh, He would have put it off until the night before it was due and then pulled an all-nighter and hoped no one noticed.

Something to ponder:

“The Ten Commandments contain 297 words. The Bill of Rights is stated in 463 words. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contains 266 words. A recent federal directive to regulate the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.”

–Atlanta Journal


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s