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The following is a letter of the Rebbe concerning the preparation for the Yom Tov of Shavuos.

By the Grace of G-d
In the Days of Preparation
to the Season of the Giving of our Torah,
5743, Brooklyn, N.Y.


To the Sons and Daughters of Our People Israel, Everywhere
G-d bless you all!
Greeting and Blessing:
In these auspicious days, certainly everyone will utilize these days that are designated for additional preparation for receiving the Torah, to prepare additionally well and with extra vigor in anticipation of the great day – “The day when you stood before Hashem your G-d, at Chorev” to receive the eternal Torah which shall never be substituted.

Explore and consider how our ancestors prepared in the lead up to this day, beginning from that dramatic day when our Teacher Moshe received the news that “when you will lead the people out of Egypt, you will worship G-d on this Mount,” meaning, that the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai was the ultimate goal of Yetzias Mitzrayim, from bondage to freedom, to be servants of Hashem and not servants of servants, including not servants of “the strange god (the yetzer hara) that is within you” – from which only [the Torah] constitutes true and complete freedom. And it goes without saying, that all the signs and miracles that they witnessed in Egypt and on the sea, which were in a manner of “affliction for Egypt, and healing for Israel,” amazed and directed their minds and hearts to their Father in Heaven with love and awe, “just as water mirrors a face to a face,” as the Alter Rebbe marvels in his book, the sacred Tanya, using the well-known parable of a great and mighty king who displays his great and intense love for a commoner.

And immediately on the morrow of leaving Egypt with an “upraised arm,” they began to count the days and weeks longingly, desirously, and thirstily for that auspicious day upon which G-d would descend on Mount Sinai before their eyes and give them His hidden treasure. And they ascended in holiness from day to day in preparation for this event, all based on the guidance (and encouragement, urging and assistance) of Moshe Rabbeinu, the Shepherd of Israel, the Faithful Shepherd from his time until this very day,

And meanwhile, the Holy One, blessed is He, further astounded them with His kindness and fed them “bread from the heavens” (Manna) and extracted for them (and gave them to drink) water from a rock (the Well of Miriam), and accommodated them and encircled them in the Clouds of Glory, and took them through the desert – far from all the vanities of this world.

And after all these preparations and more, it was not enough, and when they reached three days before the giving of the Torah, they still needed to add an additional preparation – in the Shloshes Yemei Hagbolah, the Three Days of Preparation – to ascend to the highest level in order to receive the Torah, Hashem’s Torah, with joy and pnimius (inwardness).

From this it is understood, and even more so, how the endeavor and preparation must be in our times to receive the Torah, the same Torah that was given at Mount Sinai.

Yet since our Torah, the Torah of Truth, states that the Holy One, blessed is He only demands that which is in man’s capability (and not beyond his capabilities), He has definitely given every individual all the capabilities and everything necessary so that when the Days of Preparation and the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah arrive, man will fulfill and accomplish all of this (and do so completely, as is the will of the Giver of the Torah). What is incumbent upon the individual is merely to bring it from the potential to the actual.

The Three Days of Preparation and the Festival of the Giving of our Torah indeed come once a year, but there is a small-scale version of this preparation and of Matan Torah every day. As is known, the explanation of the precise wording of the conclusion of Birkas HaTorah recited in the Morning Blessings each day and likewise when receiving an aliyah to the Torah, is Nosein HaTorah, Giver of the Torah, in the present tense, meaning that each day the Torah is given anew, which automatically means that a preparation for this is also necessary, and indeed our Sages have said and instructed, “Every day they should be (as) new in your eyes.”


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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at [email protected].