web analytics
May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Shavuos: Torah, Shabbos and the Jews

A Striking entry in our Shavuot Contest for Children and Teens from Aryeh Spiro, age 8, of Toronto.

A Striking entry in our Shavuot Contest for Children and Teens from Aryeh Spiro, age 8, of Toronto.

Shavuos. How unremarkable a name for a Yom Tov that celebrates the very foundation of our existence. Actually, Shavuos is one of five names designated for this holiday, the others being Atzeres, Yom HaBikurim, Chag HaKatzir and Z’man Mattan Toraseinu.

The prominence given to “Shavuos” arises from the seven-week interval (shivah Shavuos) – the duration of time it took us to reach an apex of purity that would enable us to receive the holy Torah. This seven-week count cleansed us of defilement and prepared us to stand under the “chuppah” at Har Sinai.

As we say in each successive daily count of the Omer, “May it rectify our nefesh, ruach and neshamah from every baseness and defect, and may it purify and sanctify us with Your supernal holiness.” Here we are taught that the name Shavuos also connotes that Torah must be learned b’kedushah uv’taharah – with a holy and pure spirit.

The significance of that lesson is highlighted by the historic occasion that takes place on a Shabbos, the seventh and most coveted of days, one that God blessed and made holy and presented to us as a “special gift hidden in My treasure house” (Shabbos 10b).

Our spiritual essence is made up of three elements: nefesh – the basic animal part of the soul that drives our material inclinations; ruach, resting on a somewhat higher plane and associated with our emotions, and the neshamah, which is solely spiritual in nature and centers on the intellect.

The ruach tends to dwell with the nefesh on weekdays, whereas on Shabbos – when we divest ourselves of mundane thought and activity – it attaches itself to the neshamah, the loftiest part of our soul. This hones our spiritual awareness, further enhanced by the additional soul given to us on erev Shabbos – the neshamah yeseirah – that inculcates us with that special capacity to perceive and absorb the aura of Gan Eden that Shabbos allows us to sample.

Week after week after week it keeps us going. We look toward it and live for it – not merely for its respite from our daily grind aspect, but for the tonic effect that revitalizes all our senses, physically and spiritually, and impacts our quality of life for the coming week.

The countdown already begins on the first day of the week. Hayom yom echad b’Shabbos… Today is the first day of the Sabbath; Hayom yom sheini b’Shabbos… Today is the second day of the Sabbath, etc.

The tempo builds with each new day, by the evening of the fifth reaching a crescendo that charges the atmosphere of every Jewish home as preparation for the holy Shabbos is in full swing. By the sixth day, an ethereal sense of transformation is palpable. Heaven and earth are in sync, as all of creative work above and below wind down to a standstill.

Har Sinai and all other mountains trembled violently. The waters of lakes and rivers sought to escape their confines as the Holy Presence began to descend to the top of the mount. With the first word of God, the tumult ceased. Not a sound could be heard – from the bird’s trill to the fluttering of its wings, all was still. The angels halted their songs of praise, the ocean their rippling waves, the sun stopped in its rotating tracks as the Master of the Universe declared Anochi Hashem Elokecha, I am Hashem your God.

The Torah is literally our life force, for had we not agreed to receive it at Har Sinai, the world would have ceased to exist. Since our faith lies at the core of the holy Torah and the fundamental premise of our belief system is rooted in the holy Shabbos, it is easily discerned how keeping the Shabbos holy is akin to adhering to all of the 613 mitzvosin the Torah.

* * * * *

When the Chofetz Chaim once visited the city of Petersburg, all of its Jewish residents came to greet him at the train station. An affluent citizen in the crowd who had come with the hope of eliciting a berachah from the Chofetz Chaim handed him an impressive sum of money as contribution for the yeshiva in Radin.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Shavuos: Torah, Shabbos and the Jews”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Music scene from 5,000-year-old seal found in northern Israel.
5,000-Year-Old Seal in Galilee May Depict First Known Music Scene
Latest Indepth Stories
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Pope Francis at the Western. Is he praying there should not be too many Catholics in the world?

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

Former US Senator, Joe Lieberman

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

israeli-american flags

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

More Articles from Rachel Weiss
Weiss-051515

“You do know that nothing occurs without reason. Can you think of something you might have done to bring on your malaise?”

Weiss-031315

It is no coincidence that Nissan marks the start of spring, when nature comes alive in all its glory.

Hashem placed Esther in the right setting at the right time.

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

Known by all as a happy-go-lucky fellow, Yossel’s lackluster parnassah never got the better of him. His dejected-looking wife, however, hardly shared his simchas ha’chayim and Yossel would often attempt to cheer her with words of chizuk.

The girl who had remarkably survived the accident had previously not led a religious lifestyle – which unsurprisingly changed after this event.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/shavuos-torah-shabbos-and-the-jews/2012/05/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: