23 May SHAVUOT
“Success in Torah for the year is dependent upon these three days. Someone who’s a masmid during shloshes yemei hagbalah will have success in Torah study the entire year.” – Rebbe Avraham ‘HaMalach’The sheloshes yemei hagbalah is a time to prepare for mattan Torah, for which preparation is essential. The Kedushas Levi zt’l writes, “If a person merits it, every Shavuos he will hear [Hashem’s] voice announcing ‘I am Hashem your G-d’ How could a person not prepare for this…? Millions of angels tremble before Hashem’s magnificence. Certainly us, human beings [should tremble and seek to prepare ourselves for this revelation]. Three days of preparation isn’t enough. Even if one prepares the entire year, it also isn’t enough.”It states, … “Moshe went up to Hashem… And Hashem called to him from the mountain” (Shmos 19:3). The Or HaChaim HaKadosh writes, “When Moshe took the first step, and went up the mountain, immediately Hashem called to him. You must know that holiness doesn’t happen unless one prepares for it. As the Zohar states, ‘the arousal from below causes the arousal from above.’” Therefore, only after Moshe made preparations and took a step towards holiness, by going up the mountain, did Hashem call him. Similarly, we must prepare ourselves for mattan Torah, and then we can receive the holiness of mattan Torah.If you do your part, and try to prepare yourselves, Hashem will help your attain your desire, and you will be ready. All a person has to do is the best he can, and the Torah promises, “you will be ready.”Shulchan Aruch (141:1) teaches that (throughout the year) the baal korei must stand when reading the Torah. The Levush explains that this is because Moshe and Bnei Yisrael stood when the Torah was given. Similarly, in siman (146:4) Shulchan Aruch states that some say that even those listening to kriyas haTorah should stand up. The Mishnah Berurah (141:19) explains, “This is because when hearing the Torah, one should imagine it as though he is receiving the Torah from Har Sinai, and at Har Sinai everyone stood. We see from these sources that each time we read the Torah, it’s like mattan Torah. Certainly, when we read in the Torah about mattan Torah, it is a replay of mattan Torah. It is as though we are receiving the Torah from Har Sinai.All of our sins are atoned on Shavuos. As the Yerushalmi (Rosh Hashanah 4:5) states, “By all korbanos it states, ‘a goat for a sin-offering.’ But by the korbanos of Shavuos, it doesn’t state sin. It states, ‘a goat for atonement.’ Hakadosh Baruch Hu is telling Bnei Yisrael, ‘Since you accept the yoke of Torah, It’s as though you never sinned your entire lives.’” This occurs annually on Shavuos.The Beis Avraham zt’l explained why we read the Aseres HaDibros three times a year: When an ill person needs a very strong medication — too strong for the patient to endure — the doctor will administer the medication in two or three installments. By not giving it all at once it’s easier on the patient’s body. Similarly, we read the Aseres HaDibros three times a year: parashas Yisro, parashas Ve’eschanan, and Shavuos. The spiritual experience that comes from this reading is very intense, thus the spiritual impact is divided up so the Jewish nation can endure it.Every year on Shavuos, each Jew is like a groom that’s getting married to the Torah, the bride. As the Gemara (end of Taanis) writes, “U’byom Chupaso” is referring to the day of mattan Torah.The Shlah HaKadosh (18) writes, “One is obligated to be very happy on this day because it is the day when we merit receiving the crown of Torah. As chazal (Pesachim 68:) states, ‘All opinions agree that one needs to enjoy festive meals on Shavuos [and one can’t spend the entire day davening and learning in beis medresh]. Why? Because it’s the day the Torah was given to the Jewish nation.’” How can a person not rejoice on this day, the day that Hashem elevated the Jewish nation from all nations to be His chosen nation? Who wouldn’t rejoice when the Creator of the world chose him — a human being made of flesh and blood — to be close to Hashem? Therefore, don’t be passive and callous. Pick up on the joyous spirit. The entire universe is excited on this day, and you too, should connect to this great joy.