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As we approach the festival of Shavuot, our thoughts naturally turn to the story of Ruth, whose journey from Moabite outsider to revered matriarch in Israel is read in synagogues worldwide. This story is more than a historical account; it embodies profound lessons and spiritual insights. Here are five essential facts about Ruth that will enrich your understanding and appreciation of her story this Shavuot.

Fact 1: Ruth’s Conversion: A Model of Sincere Commitment

On Shavuot, we celebrate the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago. Jewish holidays are not just historical remembrances. The power and spiritual energy that came down during the original holiday comes down again each year. As such, we will be receiving the Torah again brand new, and rededicating our commitment, just as we did back then when we stood united at Mount Sinai saying, “Naase v’nishma.” (We will do and we will listen). Ruth’s steadfast commitment is one of the reasons her story is read during Shavuot.

Ruth’s decision to join the Jewish people was not a mere formality. Her famous declaration to Naomi, And Ruth said, “Do not entreat me to leave you, to return from following you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your G-d my G-d. (Ruth 1:16), reflects a profound and genuine commitment. It is taught that this emphasizes that Ruth’s conversion represents the epitome of sincere dedication to Judaism. Her acceptance of the Jewish faith and its mitzvot was total and heartfelt, demonstrating that true conversion transcends ritual—it involves an unwavering embrace of Jewish life and spirituality.

Fact 2: Ruth as the Ancestor of King David

One of the most remarkable aspects of Ruth’s story is her role as the great-grandmother of King David, and thus, an ancestor of the Messiah. This connection is particularly significant in Chassidut, which often highlights the divine orchestration in the lineage leading to the Mashiach (Messiah). Ruth’s inclusion in this lineage underscores the theme that spiritual greatness can emerge from the most unexpected places and people, affirming the inclusive and redemptive nature of Jewish destiny.

Fact 3: The Symbolism of Ruth’s Actions in the Field

Ruth’s gleaning in the fields of Boaz is laden with symbolic meaning. According to Chassidic teachings, her actions represent the spiritual work of birurim, the process of elevating and refining the sparks of holiness found within the mundane world. It is taught that Ruth’s meticulous effort in gathering grain symbolizes the soul’s mission to uncover and uplift the divine within everyday life. Her work in Boaz’s field is a microcosm of the Jewish spiritual journey, transforming the physical into vessels for holiness.


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Fact 4: Ruth and Chesed: The Power of Kindness

The Book of Ruth is often called the “Megillat Chesed” (Scroll of Kindness) because it highlights the paramount importance of chesed (loving-kindness). Ruth’s unwavering loyalty to Naomi, her willingness to leave her homeland, and her humility in seeking sustenance all reflect her extraordinary dedication to kindness and selflessness. Judaism teaches about the transformative power of chesed, noting that Ruth’s story teaches us how acts of kindness can change the course of history and bring about redemption.

Fact 5: Ruth’s Legacy: Embracing Divine Providence

Ruth’s life journey illustrates a profound faith in divine providence. Despite her initial hardships and losses, Ruth’s steadfast trust in G-d’s plan ultimately leads her to a life of blessing and honor. Jewish teachings often stress the importance of recognizing and embracing divine providence in our own lives. Ruth’s story serves as an inspiring example of how faith and perseverance can guide us through challenges and align us with our higher purpose.

Learning from Ruth’s Journey This Shavuot

As many communities will read the Book of Ruth this Shavuot, we are reminded of the timeless lessons embedded in her story. Ruth’s unwavering faith, her role in the lineage of King David, her symbolic actions, her embodiment of chesed (kindness) and her trust in divine providence offer profound insights that resonate through the ages. Through the lens of Chassidut, we see Ruth not only as a historical figure but as a beacon of spiritual strength and inspiration. May her story illuminate our path and deepen our understanding as we celebrate the giving of the Torah this Shavuot.

What do you most appreciate about Ruth? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!

In the rhythm of Jewish life, Rosh Chodesh stands as a beacon of renewal and reflection. Celebrated at the start of each new month on the Jewish calendar, Rosh Chodesh is a day rich with spiritual significance, customs and extra prayers that invite us to embrace the cyclical nature of time and our continuous journey of personal growth.

Understanding Rosh Chodesh

Rosh Chodesh, literally “head of the month,” is observed when the first sliver of the new moon appears in the night sky. This day holds profound meaning, symbolizing the renewal and rebirth inherent in the lunar cycle. Unlike the solar calendar, which is fixed and unchanging, the lunar calendar reflects the dynamic, fluctuating nature of time and life itself.

Teachings of Chassidut on Rosh Chodesh

In Chassidic thought, Rosh Chodesh is more than just the beginning of a new month; it is a powerful opportunity for spiritual rejuvenation. The moon, which waxes and wanes, represents the soul’s journey through phases of growth and diminution. Just as the moon renews itself, we too are given the chance to renew our spiritual commitments and aspirations.

Chassidut emphasizes the unique potential of Rosh Chodesh to infuse the mundane with the sacred. We are taught that this day serves as a reminder that even the smallest actions can have profound spiritual significance. By aligning our intentions with our actions, we can bring light into the world, much like the moon reflects the light of the sun.



Customs and Observances

Rosh Chodesh is marked by several customs and observances that enhance its sanctity and help us focus on its themes of renewal and reflection.

  1. Special Prayers: On Rosh Chodesh, the Amidah (standing prayer) and the Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals) include an additional section known as Ya’aleh V’yavo, which beseeches G-d to remember us for good and to grant us renewal and blessing. Hallel, a series of Psalms praising G-d, is also recited to express joy and gratitude.
  2. Torah Reading: On Rosh Chodesh, a special Torah reading is conducted, highlighting the offerings brought to the Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times, where the Western Wall remains today.
  3. Festive Meal: Many have the custom to enjoy a festive meal on Rosh Chodesh, reflecting the day’s semi-festive nature. This meal serves as a time to gather with family and friends, share words of Torah and celebrate the gift of renewal.
  4. Women’s Observance: Rosh Chodesh holds particular significance for Jewish women, who traditionally refrain from certain types of work as a tribute to their decision to decline participating in the sin of idolatry with the Golden Calf. This was a declaration of their strong faith, which has continued to guide women throughout the generations through difficulties and challenges. This custom honors women’s unique spiritual insight and their contribution to the continuity of Jewish life.

The Power of Renewal

Rosh Chodesh is a reminder that renewal is always within our grasp. The cyclical nature of the moon teaches us that even after periods of darkness, light and growth will return. Each new month presents a fresh start, a chance to reflect on the past and set new intentions for the future.

As we celebrate Rosh Chodesh, we are invited to tap into this powerful energy of renewal. By embracing the customs and prayers associated with this day, we can elevate our daily lives and align ourselves more closely with our spiritual aspirations. Just as the moon’s light increases gradually, so too can our spiritual growth unfold, one step at a time.

Every month, Rosh Chodesh is much more than a date on the calendar; it is a profound spiritual experience. Use this special time to recognize the beauty of renewal, to honor our journey and to strive continually for growth and enlightenment. As we welcome each new month, let us embrace the opportunity for renewal and allow the light of Rosh Chodesh to illuminate our path forward.

What personal practices or traditions do you observe on Rosh Chodesh, and how do they help you connect with the themes of renewal and reflection?

Shavuot is a significant Jewish holiday that celebrates the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai over 3,000 years ago! In 2024, The two day holiday of Shavuot begins at sunset on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 and finishes at nightfall on Thursday, June 13, 2024. It is a time for joy, gratitude, and reflection. As we approach this special occasion, let’s put your knowledge of Shavuot customs to the test! Take this fun quiz to see how well you know the traditions associated with Shavuot. Get ready to learn something new and have fun along the way!

Shavuot Customs Quiz:

1. What is the literal meaning of the word “Shavuot”?
a) Giving of the Torah
b) Feast of Weeks
c) Festival of Lights
d) Day of Atonement

2. Shavuot is observed on the sixth day of which Jewish month?
a) Nisan
b) Tishrei
c) Iyar
d) Sivan

3. What agricultural aspect is closely associated with Shavuot?
a) Harvesting of wheat
b) Planting of trees
c) Grape harvesting
d) Olive oil production

4. Which of the following is a popular custom on Shavuot?
a) Eating unleavened bread
b) Building a Sukkah
c) Lighting the Hanukkah menorah
d) Eating dairy foods

5. True or False
The Torah is likened to nourishing milk. The gematria (numerical value) of the letters in the Hebrew word for milk (chalav) add up to 40, which is the same amount of days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.
a) True
c) False

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6. Shavuot marks the birthday and yahrtzheit (day of passing) of who?
a) King David
b) Moses
c) Joshua
d) Ruth

7. Which Book of the Torah is read in the synagogue on the first day of Shavuot?
a) Psalms
b) Exodus
c) Proverbs
d) Book of Ruth

8. What is the name of the traditional decorative element associated with Shavuot?
a) Challah
b) Menorah
c) Hamsa
d) Flowers



9. Shavuot is called by other names. Which does NOT refer to Shavuot?
a) Chag HaKatzir (The Harvest Festival)
b) Chag HaUrim (Festival of Lights)
c) Yom HaBikurim (Day of the First Fruits)
d) Zman Matan Torahteinu (Time of the Giving of Our Torah)

10. What is Tikkun Leil Shavuot?
a) A Shavuot Dessert
b) A Shavuot Song
c) An all-night study session
d) Time to light holiday candles

Scoring:

  • 0-3 correct answers: Keep exploring and learning about Shavuot customs!
  • 4-7 correct answers: Good job! You have a solid understanding of Shavuot customs.
  • 8-10 correct answers: Excellent! You are a Shavuot customs expert!

Check Your Answers! 

  1. D
  2. A.
  3. D.
  4. A
  5. A
  6. B
  7. D
  8. B
  9. C

It’s All Good!

How did you do on the Shavuot Customs Quiz? I hope you enjoyed testing your knowledge of this important Jewish holiday. Whether you aced the quiz or learned something new, Shavuot is a time for celebration and reflection. May this festival bring you joy, inspiration and a deeper appreciation for the richness of Jewish traditions. Happy Shavuot!

Share your holiday plans, thoughts or questions about Shavuot with me in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

Sefirat HaOmer, or the Counting of the Omer, is a significant Jewish practice that bridges the spiritual journey between Passover and Shavuot. This 49-day period, starting on the second night of Passover and culminating on the eve of Shavuot, is a time for reflection, self-improvement, and spiritual growth.

What is Sefirat HaOmer?

An “omer” refers to a biblical measure that equals approximately 43 ounces. Sefirat HaOmer is rooted in the time when a measure of barley was offered in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the Western Wall (or sometimes called the Wailing Wall) still stands today. Historically, it marked the countdown from the barley harvest to the wheat harvest, a time of anticipation and gratitude. Today, it holds deep spiritual significance, symbolizing the journey from liberation to revelation—from the Exodus to the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.


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How to Count the Omer

Counting the Omer is a nightly ritual that involves reciting a blessing and counting the days and weeks. Each day is an opportunity for introspection and self-improvement, aligning one’s character traits with divine attributes. This practice encourages mindfulness and discipline, fostering a deeper connection to faith and community.

Sefirat HaOmer: Spiritual and Personal Growth

The Omer period is divided into seven weeks, each associated with a different sefirah (divine attribute) from Kabbalistic tradition. These attributes—kindness, discipline, harmony, endurance, humility, foundation and sovereignty—guide individuals in refining their character. Reflecting on these attributes can lead to significant personal growth, making Sefirat HaOmer a powerful spiritual exercise.


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Community and Connection

Engaging in Sefirat HaOmer is not just a solitary endeavor. Communities worldwide come together to count the Omer during the evening prayers, creating a sense of unity and shared purpose. Many synagogues and Jewish organizations offer resources and events to help individuals stay engaged and motivated throughout the 49 days.

Tips for Counting the Omer

  1. Set a Reminder: Use apps or calendar alerts to remind yourself to count each night.
  2. Reflect Daily: Take a few moments each day to meditate on the attribute of the week.
  3. Join a Group: Participate in community activities or online forums for support and inspiration.
  4. Stay Consistent: Try to count the Omer at the same time each night to establish a routine.

Personal Transformation

Sefirat HaOmer is a beautiful mitzvah that offers a pathway to spiritual enrichment and personal transformation. By dedicating time each day to do this mitzvah, you can deepen your faith, enhance your character and strengthen your connection to the community. Embrace the journey of the Omer and discover the profound impact it can have on your life.

For more insights and resources on Sefirat HaOmer and Shavuot, read my other articles in the Holidays section of RebbetzinUnplugged.com. Let’s keep counting and growing together!

What personal reflections or experiences have you had during Sefirat HaOmer? How has the practice impacted your spiritual journey or connection to the community?

Video Below

Have you ever been so excited about an upcoming event that you count down the days, eagerly marking each passing day on the calendar?

The holiday of Shavuot is just around the corner. But did you know that its date isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Torah? Instead, we count 49 days from the second night of Passover until the fiftieth day, and that’s when we celebrate Shavuot.

Why We Count Up, Not Down During Sefirat HaOmer

On Shavuot, we commemorate receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. It’s a time of renewal, as we accept the Torah anew each year. Despite the excitement, we don’t count down to Shavuot; we count up. But what does that mean, and why do we do it?

Spiral book entitled The Counting of the Omer by Rabbi Simon Jacobson

The Counting of the Omer by Rabbi Simon Jacobson is a great read.
Check it out HERE!

The Period of Sefirat HaOmer

The counting from the second night of Passover to Shavuot is known as Sefirat HaOmer, a 7-week period dedicated to spiritual refinement. We count upwards, reflecting our journey of personal growth and self-improvement.

Sefirat HaOmer is an incredible time of introspection and self-discovery. During these weeks, we focus on refining our character through the seven sefiros (attributes):

  • Chesed (Kindness)
  • Gevura (Strictness)
  • Tiferet (Beauty)
  • Netzach (Endurance)
  • Hod (Splendor)
  • Yesod (Foundation)
  • Malchut (Nobility)

Seven Weeks, Seven Sefirot

Each of the seven weeks focuses on one of these attributes. Every day within that week, we combine the primary attribute with one of the others, resulting in 49 unique combinations.

How the Spiritual Journey Works:

Week One: Chesed (Kindness)

  • Day 1: Kindness of Kindness
  • Day 2: Severity of Kindness
  • Day 3: Beauty of Kindness
  • …and so on.

Deep Dive into the First Week of Sefirat HaOmer

Day 1: Kindness of Kindness
This is straightforward: it’s nice to be kind.

Day 2: Severity of Kindness
This means it’s essential to set personal limits while being kind. Without healthy boundaries, you might overextend yourself or be taken advantage of.

Day 3: Beauty of Kindness
Tiferet is a blend of kindness and severity. Striking this balance leads to a beautiful outcome, reducing stress and enhancing well-being.

Make Each Evening Count During Your Spiritual Journey

Use each evening to reflect and improve yourself by focusing on these divine attributes. This self-refinement prepares you to receive the Torah in the most meaningful way on Shavuot.

Conclusion

As Shavuot approaches, embrace the spiritual journey of Sefirat HaOmer. Elevate yourself, refine your character, and get ready to receive the Torah anew. Make each day count, and transform your life with these G-d-given tools.

Watch the Video to Dive a Bit Deeper: Understanding the Spiritual Journey to Shavuot

A Question for You: How do you incorporate spiritual refinement into your daily life, and what practices help you stay mindful and balanced? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

For more insights on spiritual growth and preparing for Shavuot, subscribe to my blog and stay tuned for more inspiring content.

Planning a trip to the enchanting city of Venice, Italy? As you prepare for your adventure amidst the canals and historic architecture, it’s essential to pack wisely. From navigating the narrow streets to exploring the bustling markets, having the right essentials can elevate your experience in this unique destination. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first Italian escapade, I’ve compiled a list of must-have items of what to bring to Venice to ensure you’re fully equipped for your Venetian journey. From practical necessities to must-haves, discover what to bring to Venice to make the most of your unforgettable voyage.

1. Passport and Visa

Ensure you have a valid passport and any required visas for your trip to Italy. 🪪

2. A Plan

Research the sites in and around Venice that are of interest to you and those you’re traveling with  BEFORE your trip to make the most of your time. 📝

3. Comfortable Walking Shoes

Venice is a city of canals and narrow streets, so comfortable walking shoes are a must in your list of what to bring to Venice. 👟

4. Lightweight Clothing

Depending on the season, pack appropriate clothing. Venice can be cold in the winter, but in the summer keep it lightweight as Venice can get quite hot. I’d recommend bringing layers in a lightweight backpack. 🧢

5. Power Adapter

Italy uses European-style power plugs, so bring an adapter if your devices have a different plug type.🔌

Get ready to have an amazing trip! Know what to bring to Venice, Italy.

6. Language Guide

While many people in Venice speak English, having a basic Italian phrasebook can be helpful.🗣️

7. Water Bottle

Venice has flowing water fountains for drinking throughout the city, so bring a reusable water bottle to refill. 💦

8. Map or GPS Device

Venice’s winding streets can be confusing, so having a map or GPS device is handy for navigation. (Although getting lost is half the fun)! 😎



9. Sunscreen and Hat

Protect yourself from the sun, especially during the summer months. Bring a good pair of sunglasses with you too! 🌞

10. Cash and Credit Cards

There are plenty of popular places to shop in Venice! Ensure you have some euros on hand for small purchases, but also carry a credit card (in an RFD protected wallet) for larger expenses. 💶

Bonus Tip: Remember to research and tailor your packing list based on the season and your specific needs when traveling to Venice. ✈️

Have you been to Venice, Italy? If so, what surprised you the most about the city, and what would you add to this list of must-have items to bring to Venice? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Let’s embark on a Journey of Illumination for the Jewish New Year. As the Jewish New Year approaches, we are reminded of the beauty of new beginnings. It’s a chance to reflect on our past year and the opportunity to set intentions for the year ahead. In this time of reflection and renewal, we can draw inspiration from the teachings of a remarkable spiritual leader: Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. He was the founder of the Chassidic Movement, (1698-1760).

Each day, I read from an anthology of Chassidic pearls of wisdom and customs, called HaYom Yom. One entry says: ”The Baal Shem Tov was very fond of light, and said, ‘Or (‘light’) is the numerical equivalent of raz (‘secret’). Whoever knows the ‘secret’ contained in every thing can bring illumination.” These profound words encapsulate a timeless wisdom that holds relevance in our lives even today.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

The Profound Equation of Or (Light) and Raz (Secret):

At first glance, the equation of “or” (light) and “raz” (secret) might seem like an enigmatic riddle. But, if you delve a little deeper, you’ll uncover a profound truth. Just as light has the power to reveal the hidden beauty of our surroundings, so does understanding the secrets embedded within the fabric of our lives.

The Baal Shem Tov’s insight reminds us that the world (and our lives) are brimming with hidden treasures and mysteries. Each experience, each person we encounter, and each challenge we face, contains a secret waiting to be unveiled. By embracing a mindset of curiosity and a willingness to dive into the depths of understanding, we become seekers of the “raz” that leads to profound “or.”

Choosing the Path of Illumination for a New Beginning

As we stand at the threshold of the Jewish New Year, we have the opportunity to embark on a journey of illumination. Much like the sun rising over the horizon, revealing the beauty of the world around us, we can choose to seek the light within ourselves and the world.

Imagine a life where every experience is an opportunity for growth, every interaction a chance to learn, and every challenge a gateway to deeper understanding. By recognizing the potential for illumination in every moment, we shift our perspective from passive observers to active participants in our own lives.

A new day with clouds and illumination by the sun. Text overlay with a thought for the Jewish New Year from the Rebbetzin Unplugged: "Your dreams are your reality waiting to happen."

Embracing Timeless Wisdom:
Illumination for the Jewish New Year

The Baal Shem Tov offers us timeless guidance as we step into the Jewish New Year:

  • Seek the Hidden Gems: Just as we light holiday candles during this season, let us also light the candle of curiosity within ourselves. Approach each day with the intention of uncovering the hidden gems and secrets that lie beneath the surface.
  • Illuminate Through Understanding: Understanding is the key that turns the lock of illumination. By seeking to understand the secrets within every experience, we are granted the power to bring light to even the darkest corners of our lives.
  • Share the Brilliance: The light we discover within ourselves is not meant to be kept hidden. Just as the glow of a candle can light up a room, the insights we gain from embracing and sharing our God-given talents can light up the lives of those around us.

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Embrace the Equation, Embrace Light

As we approach the Jewish New Year, let us embrace the equation of “or” and “raz,” the interplay of light and secret. May we each embark on a journey of illumination for the Jewish New Year, understanding that by seeking the secrets within, we can bring forth a radiant light that guides us through the upcoming year.

May this year be one of growth, enlightenment and a deeper connection to the mysteries that surround us. 🕊️✨

Shanah Tovah! 🍎🍯

In what ways will you incorporate the concept of ‘illumination’ into your daily life moving forward?

What secrets have you uncovered in your own journey of growth and understanding? Join the conversation and inspire others with your thoughts and revelations.

#JewishNewYear #RoshHashanah #TimeForRenewal #PathOfIllumination #BaalShemTov #Jewish #Judaism #JewishHolidays #GrowthMindset #PositiveVibes

Life is an ever-evolving journey. Along the way, we often encounter lessons that shape our perspectives and define our paths. There’s a unique richness to the teachings embedded within various cultures, and the Jewish tradition is no exception. In this exploration of insight and enlightenment, I delve into “5 Inspirational Jewish Lessons People Wish They Knew Sooner.” 

These timeless lessons, brimming with wisdom and relevance, offer a tapestry of guidance and growth that resonates across generations. As I uncover these pearls of wisdom, I invite you to reflect on the journeys they illuminate and the transformations they inspire. Join me on this voyage of discovery, as I uncover lessons that have the power to enrich our lives in ways we wish we had known sooner.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

1. Empowerment Through Wisdom: Lessons for the Ages

Life has challenges. You can’t get away from them. Judaism offers a wealth of wisdom and guidance for every stage of life. From the powerful stories of biblical women to the teachings of great Jewish scholars, you can find inspiration and empowerment through connecting with the vast treasure trove of Jewish knowledge.

2. Personal Connection to Traditions: Exploring the Lessons We Long For

The richness of Jewish traditions and rituals provides a deep sense of connection and belonging. Weekly, monthly and annual practices like Shabbat candle lighting, holiday observances, and communal gatherings can bring a profound sense of spirituality and purpose to your life.

Hanukkah Donuts (Sufganiyot)
Hanukkah Donuts (Sufganiyot)

3. Embracing Aging with Grace

Understanding the Jewish perspective on ageing can offer a fresh perspective. Judaism values the wisdom that comes with age. It encourages embracing new stages of life with grace, dignity and a continued thirst for learning and growth.

4. Community as a Lifeline

This is one of the most significant of the these inspirational Jewish lessons. Recognizing the importance of community is a game-changer. Engage with a local synagogue, a Jewish organization such as Chabad of Venice, Italy or a social group. They’ll provide a supportive network of like-minded individuals who share values, experiences and a sense of camaraderie.

5 Inspirational Jewish Lessons People Wish They Knew Sooner
5 Inspirational Jewish Lessons People Wish They Knew Sooner

5. Legacy and Impact: Embracing the Past and Shaping the Future with Insights We Crave

One of the greatest lessons is to realize the potential impact each of us can have on future generations. By transmitting Jewish traditions and actively contributing to Jewish causes, we embrace our role as a link in the chain of Jewish continuity.

Ultimately, what you learn now at any age, can profoundly enrich your life and the lives of those around you. The journey of discovery and growth in Judaism has no age limit.

Want to add to the discussion? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions about this. Take a few seconds and let me know below in the comments!

Let’s delve into the beauty and significance of Shavuot! In 2024, Shavuot begins at sundown on Tuesday, June 11 and ends at nightfall on Thursday, June 13. Here’s your guide to celebrating the Jewish holiday filled with unity, Torah wisdom and cherished customs. Join us as we explore the lighting of holiday candles, synagogue visits for the Ten Commandments reading, relishing a delectable dairy meal and immersing ourselves in the joyous tradition of night-long Torah study. Plus, discover the anticipation built during the counting period since Passover. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey together.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Unity: Insights from the Lubavitcher Rebbe: The Lubavitcher Rebbe, one of the world’s most influential Jewish leaders, stressed the importance of unity within the Jewish community. He believed that unity not only brings blessings to the world but also serves as a foundation for spiritual growth. When we are truly unified as one people with one heart, then this is a fitting preparation for receiving the one Torah from the one God.

Lighting Holiday Candles: Illuminating the Path: As Shavuot commences, we light holiday candles, symbolizing the spiritual light that emanated from Mount Sinai during the Giving of the Torah. The warm glow serves as a reminder of the divine teachings that guide our lives and bring sanctity to our homes.

Let’s Talk About Shavuot: A Guide to Celebrating the Jewish Holiday!

Synagogue: The Ten Commandments Reading: A central element of Shavuot is the community’s gathering at the synagogue to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. This powerful moment allows us to relive the awe-inspiring experience of our ancestors standing at Mount Sinai, ready to receive the precious gift of the Torah. Through this communal observance, we connect with our heritage and strengthen our bond with the Divine.

Festive Dairy Meal: Nourishing the Body and Soul: Shavuot traditions include indulging in a delightful festive dairy meal. There are various explanations for this custom, including our ancestors’ hesitancy to consume meat immediately after receiving the dietary laws of kosher meat consumption, until they were properly prepared for doing so. Moreover, the Torah is often associated with “milk and honey,” highlighting its nourishing and sweet attributes. As we gather with loved ones, we savor dairy delicacies, celebrating the richness of our heritage.

Night-Long Torah Study: Immersion in Wisdom: Another unique aspect of Shavuot is the tradition of staying up all night engaged in Torah study. This practice reflects our deep commitment to the Torah and our eagerness to explore its profound wisdom. Communities organize inspiring lectures, study sessions and discussions, fostering an atmosphere of intellectual growth and connection throughout the night.

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Counting Anticipation: From Passover to Shavuot: Since the conclusion of Passover, we have been counting the Omer, a period of anticipation spanning seven weeks. This counting represents the journey from physical liberation to spiritual revelation, preparing us for the momentous occasion of receiving the Torah on Shavuot. Each day brings us closer to this joyous celebration, infusing it with a sense of eager expectation.

Embracing the Essence: Shavuot is a cherished Jewish holiday that celebrates unity, the Giving of the Torah, and the joys of communal observance. From kindling the holiday candles to hearing the Ten Commandments at the synagogue, indulging in a festive dairy meal to engaging in night-long Torah study, every aspect of Shavuot serves to deepen our connection to our heritage and strengthen our spiritual bonds.

As we reflect on the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe regarding unity and the anticipation built during the counting period, let us embrace the true essence of Shavuot. Together, we can create a ripple effect of blessings that extends far beyond ourselves.

Wishing you a meaningful and joyous Shavuot celebration filled with unity, Torah study, and divine inspiration. Chag Sameach!

Do you have a question about Shavuot or just want to send holiday wishes? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Are you interested in shopping in Venice? Maybe you want to know about the best places to shop, what to buy, when to shop, tips for shopping, and any local customs or etiquette they should be aware of. 

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Venice is one of the most unique and enchanting cities in the world, and there’s no shortage of places to explore and discover. For those who love to shop, there are plenty of options to choose from, whether you’re looking for luxury brands or local artisans.

Luisa Spagnoli is one of my favorite stores for shopping in Venice!

Best Places for Shopping in Venice

One of the most famous shopping streets in Venice is the Mercerie, which is located near S. Marco Square. It is lined with shops selling everything from designer clothing and accessories to handmade crafts and souvenirs. It’s a great place to browse and soak up the atmosphere, even if you’re not planning to buy anything.

Another popular destination for shopping in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. This iconic landmark is not only a beautiful sight to behold, but it’s also home to a bustling market nearby that sells fresh produce, seafood, and other local products. It’s a great place to wander around and explore, and you’re sure to find some unique and interesting things to see.

All along the main thoroughfare called Strada Nuova, you’ll find many stores of all budgets. One that is very close to the Jewish Ghetto is OVS, which sells clothes for most everyone in the family, without breaking the bank.

Does Venice Have Luxury Shopping?

If you’re looking for luxury brands and high-end shopping, the Calle Larga XXII Marzo is the place to be. This street is home to some of the biggest names in fashion, including Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. Even if you’re not planning to splurge on designer clothing, it’s still worth a visit to see the beautiful window displays and soak up the glamorous atmosphere.

What’s the Best Way to Get Around in Venice?

There are a few ways to get around in Venice. One way is using one of the modes of Venice public transport. There are public water boats called vaporettos. There is also a traghetto, which looks like a gondola. It is a short trip that just takes you right across the Grand Canal at points where there isn’t a bridge nearby. Unlike a regular gondola ride, it only costs a couple euro and lasts just a brief couple minutes. But be careful! You have to have good balance, because most likely, you’ll stay standing along with all the others on the long thin boat! I have seen some people sitting on a traghetto in pictures, but if you want to feel like a local Venetian, just stay standing.

You can also take a private water taxi, but it is a more expensive trip. Often taxis are used to go to and from the airport, but not usually to go shopping in Venice. The same goes for a gondola. Gondolas are a beautiful experience, but they ar enot the every day mode of transportation for getting around Venice. And of course, there’s always walking. You can get pretty much anywhere you want to go in Venice by foot. So wear some comfortbale shoes and go explore the streets of La Serenissima!

Venice Off the Beaten Path

For those who prefer a more bohemian and artistic vibe, the Dorsoduro neighborhood is a great place to explore. This area is home to many independent boutiques and artisan shops, where you can find unique and handmade items that you won’t find anywhere else. From jewelry and clothing to home decor and accessories, there’s something for everyone in Dorsoduro.

No matter where you choose to go shopping in Venice, be sure to take your time and enjoy the experience. Venice is a city that rewards exploration and discovery, so don’t be afraid to get lost in the winding streets and canals. You never know what treasures you might find!

What else do you want to know about shopping in Venice? Can’t wait to read your questions in the comments below!

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