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    Everyone is aware
    that the High Holiday
    period between Rosh
    HaShannah and Yom
    Kippur is a period of
    judgment (Din).
    However, not everyone is aware that the Ari
    z”l and the Shaloh HaKodesh write that
    there is judgment on Shavuos as well. The
    judgment of Shavuos affects each and every
    one of us. On Shavuos there is Heavenly
    Judgment that determines the degree of
    success each of us will have in pursuing our
    Torah studies during the coming year. Just
    as the amount of material sustenance each
    of us will receive for the next 12 months is
    determined on Rosh HaShannah, the Day
    of Judgment, so too the amount of spiritual
    sustenance each of us will receive from our
    Torah study during the next twelve months
    is determined on the Day of the Giving of
    the Torah.
    We know how to prepare for Rosh
    HaShannah. We know we are to pray, we
    know we are to do mitzvos. These things

    determine the nature of the Judgment we
    receive during the season of the Days of
    Awe. What are we supposed to do on
    Shavuos in order that the Almighty will say
    “if this is how he acts then he deserves to be
    given a year of success in his learning
    The Sefarim say that a person’s judgment
    in this matter is dependent on his desire
    (cheshek) to learn. The more he wants it,
    the more he shows the Ribono shel Olam
    somehow that this is important to him and
    he wants success in his learning endeavors,
    the more he will receive it. It is this
    “cheshek to learn” that determines the
    extent to which the Almighty will allot him
    success in learning.
    This is what we have to demonstrate over
    the next few days leading up to Shavuos –
    our desire to learn! One develops a
    ‘cheshek’ if one comes to an appreciation
    of what Torah is and of how important
    Torah is to his life. Somehow, in these next
    few days, we must spend time thinking of
    the role Torah plays in our lives, the

    importance that it has. In this way, we
    can sincerely express to the Ribono
    shel Olam our desire to grow in
    There are different ways to
    demonstrate ‘cheshek’. I heard a story
    of a fellow from Manchester England
    who was a mohel. He went to the
    Ukraine to perform circumcisions for
    Jewish Russian babies who had no
    other access to ritual circumcision.
    The mohel was met by a Rav from
    Monsey who was visiting the Ukraine. The
    Rav asked him to describe his most
    memorable experience from the Ukraine.
    The mohel related that he once went to

    perform a milah in some off-the-beaten-
    track little town in the Ukraine. At one time

    – many years ago – the Ukraine was a
    vibrant center of Jewish life and Jewish
    living. It was a country of Chassidim and
    men of action. Today, there is very little
    Jewish life and in this town there was next
    to nothing. The mohel found out that the
    Bris was supposed to be in the shul. He
    located the synagogue and walked
    into the building, where he saw a
    number of people gathered. He asked
    them: What time are
    you davening here? When is the
    They looked at him curiously and
    asked “Daven? We do not daven. No
    one here knows how to daven.” The
    mohel asked “If you do not know
    how to daven, what are all these
    people doing in shul?” The person he
    asked explained. “There are two
    different things. There
    is davening and there is coming to
    shul. We do not know how
    to daven, but still a Jew must come to
    So morning and evening, these Jews
    who did not know which way was up
    in a Siddur, came to shul because that
    is what Jews are supposed to do.
    They sit there, they schmooze, they
    do not daven but they come to shul!
    They might not achieve “Level B”
    – davening, but at least they have
    achieved “Level A” – coming to shul.
    I wonder how the Almighty looks at
    this. People do not know how
    to daven. They know they are
    supposed to daven and they feel bad
    that they are unable to daven, but at
    least they demonstrate to the Ribono

    Shel Olam their desire to come to shul. It
    would seem that such behavior gives much
    “pleasure” (nachas Ruach) to the Ribono
    shel Olam.
    This is an example of how one
    demonstrates “cheshek” – the desire to
    become closer to the Master of the Universe.
    We have to likewise demonstrate our desire
    for learning Torah and for having success in
    our learning. We need to feel and
    demonstrate that “this is our life and the
    length of our days”.
    We are real good at asking “Bestow upon
    us Hashem our G-d this year all its kinds of
    crops for the best…” Everybody knows
    how to sincerely ask for material sustenance.
    We are real good at asking G-d to heal those
    of us who are ill and to strengthen those of
    us who are weak…when we need these
    blessings. We are good at putting in requests
    for all of our personal needs of a financial,
    social, and material nature. We need to
    focus on improving our Kavanah in
    blessings that invoke Divine Aid in spiritual
    matters as well.
    The Chazaon Ish says the blessing of “Ata
    Chonen L’Adam Da’as” [you bestow upon
    man understanding] is the blessing where a
    person should pray for Divine aid in his
    Torah learning. In this blessing, in the
    blessing Ahava Rabbah in the morning, and
    in the blessing Ahavas Olam in the evening
    (a facsimile of Ahava Rabbah) – these are
    the places where our focus and sincerity
    will be able to demonstrate how seriously
    we are asking for Divine Assistance in
    being able to learn and attach ourselves to
    G-d’s Torah.
    “For this is our life and the length of our
    days” should not merely be lip service. It is
    the reason for our very existence, the reason
    for our lives. Let us hope we will all merit
    Help of Heaven in our learning. May we
    have an elevation this Shavuos and this
    coming year, may we merit an increase in
    our level of Torah, Fear of G-d, and
    performance of mitzvos.