Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Attires of the holiday (2)

What did we do on Shavuot? I want to mention three things and this goes to show, more so, what I wrote yesterday -- how this festival of the reception of the Torah, for all practical purposes is one of the early harvest.
We had a campfire with friends, we made a basket of offerings with stuff we made in our kitchen and took it to friends and then we visited a kibbutz to see the celebrations there.
The Kibbutz celebrations are very traditional in Israel and make no statements on the Torah at all and all the more work out as a display of all the harvest elements these agricultural communities can offer. A couple of years ago we witnessed one in the Galilee with an impressive procession of tractors and other farming auxiliaries, decorated with whatever representation of what this kibbutz was farming. This was followed by performances of singing dancing and such.
This time round, in a much more urbanized settlement. The result was unbelievably poor. If one ever needed a reminder that we urbanized folk hardly have any rural roots left, we got one here.

The question this observation together with yesterday's raise is: are we finally ready to leave behind the ancient acting out of Shavuot and move to the more cerebral, abstract meaning of Shavuot: reception of Torah. The Jewish tradition launched.
On a side note. The Christians mapped onto this and the festival became Pentecost, which is the reception of the Holy Spirit and the launching of the Church. I wonder what pagan festivals were hijacked in order to Christianize the Europeans and get them to celebrate Pentecost.