Shavuos – What’s the Party All About?

May 24, 2012 | Comments 2

I recently came across a beautiful vort that explains the yom tov of Shavuos so well, and the powerful lesson that can be learned from it, so I will share it here.

In the times of the second beis hamikdash, the baysusim would spare no effort to manipulate the testimony of the new moon for Nissan so that it should come out on Shabbos, thereby causing Shavuos to fall out on Sunday (in accordance with their explanation of “mimochoras ha’shabbos). They would go so far to hire witnesses to testify falesly, and even try to kill witnesses that were on the way to testify not in accordance with their liking. Why were they so keen on this specific matter? Did it really make such a difference to them if Shavuos comes out on Sunday or any other day of the week?

The Meshech Chochma explains, that the difference lies in the fundamental reason of the Yom Tov of Shavuos. According to our tradition, Shavuos is the day of Matan Torah – 50 days after leaving Egypt. While according to the baysusim, Shavuos is not related to Matan Torah at all, rather it is just a holiday celebrating the agricultural harvest. Why not celebrate Matan Torah? Because at the¬†time of Matan Torah, Hashem had to force the Jews to accept the Torah (Kofeh Aleyhem Har K’Gigis), so there is not rejoicing or reason to celebrate a forced acceptance. But as Chazal teach us, that forced acceptance was only for the Oral Torah. The Written Torah on the other hand, was accepted willingly (Naaseh V’nishma). Therefore, us who believe in the truth of the Oral Torah have a reason to celebrate the Giving of the Torah on Shavuos, while the baysusim who do not have two Torahs are of the belief that it was all force, removing any reason to celebrate.

When learning in kollel, you are spending most of the day learning Torah. Some people learning Torah out of sheer pleasure and enjoyment, while others are learning because it is their job (or forced into it). What does Shavuos mean to you? Are you celebrating the Giving of the Torah that took place on this day, or is the Yom Tov just a seasonal event celebrating the spring harvest? If it is the former, you are a great representative of klal yisroel. But if you are just doing it because it is your job, then perhaps it is time to look for other endeavors – those that can bring in a parnossa for you and your family.

Surely, with your new occupation, you can begin to work on restoring your appreciation for the true beauty of Torah Рand join in celebrating teh

The reason you celebrate a Yom Tov has all to do with what the Yom Tov is for. Are you truly rejoicing the giving of the Torah, or are you just happy that its the spring time again?


Filed Under: Limud HaTorah


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  1. DC says:

    What’s your take on the Ami magazine piece?

  2. aaron says:

    A great story that demonstrates the poor decisions made by everyone in the story – the boy for marrying the girl because he thought she was rich, the girl for killing herself so that she can have the z’chus of marrying such a bed Torah (excuse the sarcasm), and the parents of the girl for signing her up to a life of debt and bitter labor. He also wrote that his Rosh Yeshiva was disappointed he was going to work after just a few years of kollel – well that is just the icing on the cake! Although most likely he was putting words into his mouth…

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