On Shavuos we celebrate the day when we accepted the Torah on Har Sinai. The Yerushalmi in the fourth perek of Rosh Hashanah asks why the Torah does not mention that we must bring a korban chatas in the list of korbanos that we bring on Shavuos, as it does on every other Yom Tov.
The Yerushalmi answers that Hashem said to the Bnei Yisrael, “Since you accepted upon yourselves the yoke of the Torah, I consider it as if you never sinned.” Therefore, on the Yom Tov of Shavuos the Torah does not require that a korban chatas be brought. To be clear there is a korban brought, however it is not called a chatas.
The Binyan Shlomo (siman 21) points out that the Yerushalmi cannot be referring to the kabala that Bnei Yisrael made at Har Sinai, for if that was case why would future yomim tovim of Shavuos not require a korban chatas. That kabala could have only forgiven the sins prior to that day. Additionally, what is the logic to think that because B’nei Yisrael accepted something it would nullify all future sins? On the contrary, since they accepted the Torah, they should be held responsible to keep it.
Rather, explains the Binyan Shlomo, each year on Shavuos, Bnei Yisrael must accept the Torah anew. As Rashi says from the Gemara, it should be in our eyes as if we accepted the Torah from Har Sinai today. Each year when we accept the Torah again we attain the status of gerim, who do not have any averos. The Yerushalmi that said that Hashem says, “Since you accepted upon yourselves the yoke of the Torah, I consider it as if you never sinned” was referring to the kabla we make each year.
Therefore, every year, on every Yom Tov of Shavuos the Torah does not require a korban Chatas on the Yom Tov of Shavuos.
Shavuos follows the period of sefiras ha’omer where we mourn the loss of Rabi Akiva’s talmidim. The Gemara in Yevamos 62b says that when Rabi Akiva’s talmidim died, the world was desolate. Rashi explains that the Torah was forgotten. When Rabi Akiva began teaching his final five talmidim, the Gemara says that Torah was restored to the world at that moment.
Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro says that we can see from here an incredible phenomenon. We see how Torah is unlike any other knowledge. While there is a yeshiva in existence, the world will be full with knowledge of Torah. The moment the yeshiva ceases to exist, the Torah will be forgotten from the entire world. The moment the yeshiva returns, immediately the world will be filled with Torah again.
On a similar note, the pasuk says, “And these are the progeny of Aharon and Moshe on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai” Bamidbar (3:1). Yet, the pasuk only mentions Aharon’s children. Rashi explains that since Moshe taught them Torah, they are considered his sons.
The pasuk says that this was on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe. Rashi explains that Moshe had taught Aharon’s sons the Torah that he had learned from Hashem. But had they become Moshe’s “sons” in just one day?
Says Rav Moshe Shmuel (Bamidbar 3:1), the Rambam in the beginning of his hakdamah to Yad Hachazaka lists Elazar as one of the mekabelim of the Torah. Once one becomes a mekabel and a talmid, he will immediately become influenced from his rebbi’s Torah. Already on that very day, he will be considered the son of his rebbi.
Furthermore, we find that in the Gemara in Eruvin 13b, Rebbi says that the reason why he became greater than his peers is because he saw Rabi Meir’s back. Had he seen Rabi Meir from the front, he would have become even greater. We see that even just seeing an adam gadol can cause a person to become greater.
As we approach Mattan Torah of this year, it is important to realize that the Torah spreads in a manner that is unlike any other natural knowledge, and we should use this to our advantage. We should look to gain as much as we can from our rebbeim and gedolim.
Additionally, we should appreciate that those who are sitting in yeshiva are preserving the Torah for the rest of the world. May we all accept the Torah again this year, and reap its tremendous benefits, amen.