Project Genesis

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The Calendar and Holidays (incl. Sabbath)

Why isn’t Shavuos Always a Sunday?

Question: According to the Torah (Lev. 23:15), the Omer offering is brought on “the day after the Sabbath”, and we then count seven weeks and celebrate Shavuos. Why doesn’t Shavuos always fall on a Sunday?

Answer: “The Sabbath” in Lev.23:15 means “The holiday”, i.e. the first day of Passover. The omer offering was brought on the second day of Passover, i.e. on the 16th of Nisan, which does not always fall on the same day of the week, and Shavuos falls seven weeks later. Holidays are called “Sabbaths” because most work is forbidden on holidays; e.g., see Lev.23:7 about the prohibition of work on the first day of Passover. The weekly Sabbath is called a “Sabbath of Sabbaths” because even more types of work are forbidden; see Lev.23:3.

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