Today Jews celebrate Shavuot, also know by its Biblical names Chag HaKatsir, the [wheat] Harvest Festival, and Yom HaBikurim, Day of the First Fruits. By tradition today also marks the day of King David's birth and death. In synagogues the scroll of the Book of Ruth is chanted, in loving memory of David and Ruth, his Moabite ancestor, the mother of all converts.
But mainly Shavuot is Zman Matan Toratenu, The Season of the Giving of our Torah. Seven weeks (shavuot) have passed since Passover. It took 49 (+1) days of wandering in the desert for God and Moses to prepare the People for the the biggest day in history.
In today's morning prayer service Exodus 19-20 is read. All rise in silent reverence to listen to the Ten Commandments, with the feeling that we all are standing at Mount Sinai.
More about the deep meaning of all this and the fascinating customs of celebration await you at the friendly Chabad site.
But what I actually want to tell you today is my Shavuot miracle story from far-away SWITZERLAND.
OK. . . The winds blew cold as I wandered alone along the shore of Lake Neuchatel, missing Israel. So I asked God for a sign of friendship and connection:
Hey, remember the split rock that our friend Sister H. found and made into something nice? I know such rocks are rare, but please, could You let me have one too?
I searched and searched, but in vain, and was about to head back. Then something told me to try at the little stretch of beach where the ominous sign says (or at least what my poor French thought it said): "Private property. Walking along this beach is permitted but stopping is prohibited."
I walked, and kept walking, and lo and behold--there it was, under the ripples of cold water!
Wrapping the heavy rock in my scarf, I almost danced all the way home.
After it got dry it looked like a loaf of bread,
or maybe the whale about to swallow Jonah.
But no! We knew its real destiny.
With a few strokes of my pencil, trying to do like the finger of God, the Hebrew letters for 1 to 10 were etched in stone and voila--the tablets of the Ten Commandments!
Click a few times to enlarge the photo and see the alef-bet letters:
Chag sameach, happy holiday to all!