Based on “Shamati”, sayings of the Baal HaSulam recorded by his son HaRav Baruch Shalom Ashlag
This Tuesday night begins the two day Holiday of Shavouos. The first night of Shevous marks “Zman mattan Toraseynu” “the time of the giving of our Torah”.
As we know, Jewish Holidays are not meant just to remember something significant that once happened on a specific day in the past, but rather to signify that whatever special spiritual “ore” “light” shined on that day, shines every year on that day.
The Baal HaSulam points out, that as a matter of fact, not only was the giving of the Torah to us the Jewish Nation on Mount Sinai something that happened one time on the first Shavouos, but that the “light” of the “giving of the Torah” is an ongoing eternal concept, which started on the first Shavouos.
The only change today since then, is not regarding the “light”, but rather regarding us having the proper “Kailim” vessels to receive this “light”. Therefore then on Shavouos this “light” was revealed, as apposed to now when even though the same light continues it is never the less concealed.
At the time of “Matan Torah” “the giving of the Torah” the entire Jewish Nation was at its peak level of Holiness, and stood by Mount Sinai “keish echad belaiv echad” “like one man, with one heart”!! This means they all were at the level of doing for each other, totally 100% “al manas lahashpia” “for the sake of bestowing“. It was this level of pure “kavanah” “intent” which enabled them to have the proper vessels to receive the Torah, thus enabling the “light” to be
Therefore we see that although the giving of the Torah which took place on
Shavouos by Mount Sinai never ceased, it is never the less incumbent upon us to make the proper kailim to receive the Torah! Of coarse when we feel that the Torah and/or the observance of it is too distant (difficult) from us, we tend to “blame” that on the Torah itself, when in reality it is us that are lacking of having the proper kailim to receive the Torah!
I once heard a Talmid Chacham explain the following thought; We see that every Jewish calendar year has a cycle of Holidays, Pesach, Shavouos, etc. We need to view this yearly cycle not only two dimensionally as the same repetitive cycle every year, but rather we should view it three dimensionally like a spiral staircase. That means to say, that yes indeed the same Holidays come on the same Jewish dates every year, but we should not anticipate to experience an upcoming Holiday in a new year just like we did the year before, but rather we should make the preparations within ourselves to greet the upcoming Holiday on a higher “madreygah” “level” than the previous year. So too with all the Holidays. Every Shevouos gives us the potential to boost our level of “receiving” the Torah! We therefore need to prepare ourselves for this monumental occasion of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
May we all, through our Torah study and observance, with the help of HaShem, merit to transform our “Ratzon” “will” to be on a higher level of “al manas lahashpia” than the year before, and thus “tap in” to the “Ore” of “Matan Torah” which not only then began to shine, but was also revealed by having been received and comprehended in its totality at Mount Sinai on Shevouos.
*SOME GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT SHEVOUOS*
-Candle lighting time for the first day of Shevouos this year is: New York 8:06,
Philadelphia 8:09, Baltimore 8:13, Boston 8:01
-Shavouos being a Yom Tov has all the same laws as keeping Shabbos, therefore
all the types of “melachah” “work” that are prohibited on Shabbos are also
prohibited on Yom Tov (no driving, turning on lights etc.) with basically four
exceptions that are permitted on Yom Tov; 1 kneading, baking, cooking 2 shechitah
(ritual slaughter), 3 carrying, 4 lighting a fire from an existing fire [see Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch Chapter #98]
-Kiddush is made each night and again each day, followed by a Yom Tov meal
which begins with HaMotzie on two whole loaves
-Some have the custom to eat a dairy meal sometime on the first day
-There is an excepted custom on Shevouos to stay up the entire first night, studying
Torah the entire night
- Eretz Yisrael has only one day of Shevouos
-Shavouos is both a very Spiritual and Happy Holiday!
-Wishing all a very Good Yom Tov!! Fievel Okowita
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