We are now standing in the “Sheloshes Y’mei Hagbalah” – the three days of preparation for receiving the Torah once again on Shavuos. Let us discover a unique aspect of this day which will help us gain the most from it, not only now, but all year long.
We have previously pointed out (February 7, 2014) that there are three different parts of Shabbos, corresponding to the three greatest revelations of Hashem’s Glory in this world. Friday night corresponds to Shabbos Bereishis, the time when Hashem caused His Glory to dwell in this world. Shabbos morning is parallel to the Shabbos when we received the Torah. And finally, Shabbos afternoon corresponds to the Shabbos of the World to Come, when the Oneness of Hashem will be clearly revealed. In the last few articles we discussed Friday night; now we will focus on the connection of Shabbos Matan Torah to Shabbos morning.
“Tzena u’rena b’nos tziyon bamelech Shlomo, ba’atarah she’itrah lo imo, beyom chasunaso u’beyom simchas libo – Go out and gaze, Daughters of Zion, at King Shlomo, at the crown which His mother adorned Him with on His wedding day and on the day His heart was gladdened”(Shir Hashirim, 3:11). Rashi tells us that Shlomo HaMelech represents Hashem, “his mother” represents Klal Yisroel, and the wedding day represents the day we received the Torah. On that day we crowned Hashem as King and accepted His sovereignty. Why do we refer to it as our wedding day?
Let us first explain the stages of marriage. The first stage is called kedushin (betrothal). The chosson gives the kallah a small amount of money or its equivalent (such as a ring) and says that he is mikadesh her. By doing so, he sets her aside from the whole world, but she still does not enter his home.
The next stage is called nissuin (marriage) and the bride leaves her father’s home and enters the jurisdiction of her husband. In the first stage, there is a great distance between the couple. Now that she has entered her husband’s domain, they become extremely close.
The same thing happened in our relationship with Hashem. Rashi tells us (Breishis 1:1) that Hashem created the world for Klal Yisroel. This is equivalent to kedushin, where the chosson separates the kallah from the whole world. Hashem created the world as a place for us to find Him and get close to Him. Since it was still unclear how that would happen, there was a distance between us and our beloved Hashem. This is why Shabbos Bereishis corresponds to Shabbos night, a time of darkness and obscurity. But when morning arrives, the time when we received the Torah, everything becomes clear and all barriers fall away. This closeness is the equivalence of the nissuin stage which we can understand on several levels.
First, the Torah gives us clear guidelines on how to live our entire lives – from the very first breath we take until our last. And the Torah doesn’t only speak to generations of old, it deals with every situation that may arise, even in our modern day and age.
In addition, the actual revelation that occurred at the time Hashem gave us the Torah provided a clear understanding of the point of the creation. How is that so?
It is quite obvious that since Bnei Yisrael “saw” Hashem’s glory that experience was not a physical one at all. Indeed, the pasuk states (20:18) “V’chol ha’am ro’im es hakolos – and the entire nation saw the sounds.” The Midrash tells us that since it does not say “and they heard the sounds,” we learn that they actually saw what is normally heard. What does it mean to “see sounds”? The Nefesh HaChaim (3:11) explains that everything in this world was created by the ten statements that Hashem made during creation, and is also kept in existence through those “words.” Because we were elevated to such a spiritual level, we were actually able to see those words.
About the Author: Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus, raised and educated in Los Angeles and subsequently Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim, is the Rosh Kollel of the Zichron Aron Yaakov Kollel in Kiryat Sefer , Israel. He lectures for the public and is the director of the Chasdei Rivka Free Loan Gemach. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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