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( Excerpt from The Shavuot Anthology, by Philip Goodman; Jewish Publication Society, 1992.)
While there is a corpus of law governing all Jewish festivals, there are very few pertaining specifically to Shavuot. Despite its importance and sanctity the "Season of the Giving of Our Torah" did not elicit the promulgation of special commandments other than those relating to the sacrifices offered when the Temple was in existence. Besides a section on the Temple sacrifices for Shavuot, Maimonides has only a few passing references to it in his codification of Jewish laws, Mishneh Torah. The Shulhan Arukh ("Prepared Table"), based largely on Sephardic practices, was compiled by Joseph Karo ( 1488- 1575) and supplemented with Ashkenazic traditions by Moses Isserles (c. 1520- 1572), known as Rema. This authoritative code devotes lengthy sections to Passover and Sukkot but only a brief paragraph to Shavuot, headed "Order of the Prayers for the Feast of Weeks." There are, however, a number of Shavuot customs that have been well established over many generations and are now recognized as essential components of the festival.