Rabbi's Message


As we read through the liturgy of Shavuot we see that the holiday is referred to as Zman Matan Toratenu – a time of remembrance of the giving of the Torah. Was the Torah given on that day – yes, however maybe the most memorable feat of Shavuot is not only the giving but also the receiving of the Torah by Bnei Yisrael. In fact, possibly the greatest expression of our devotion to G-D was when at Har Sinai we exclaimed Na’aseh ViNishmah- we will do and we will hear. That was our expression of receiving the Torah and our dedication to observing it. However, we don’t make reference to that. Why not? Furthermore, throughout the year we are constantly referencing the remembrance of leaving Egypt – Zecher L’Yitziat Mitzraim (Kiddush, Shema…) and we do not make reference to us receiving the Torah. What’s odd is that the whole purpose of Hashem taking us out of Egypt was to worship Hashem on Har Sinai and to receive the Torah, so wouldn’t it be more accurate to refer back to that time in Jewish history above the event of leaving Egypt?

The Torah, when describing the holiday of Shavuot is described to us as Chag Habikurim – the holiday of the first fruits and not as the holiday of the Torah being given or accepted. Why not? The Kli Yakar in Parshat Emor addresses this question and says that the Torah has to be new to us every single day as the day we received it at Har Sinai. For this reason, The Torah does not identify Shavuot as the day of Matan Torah. Every day we have to feel the newness of it and re-experience the giving and receiving of the Torah therefore it is not dated in the Torah and no outright mention of it is given in the verse.

With this explanation, we could now understand why in the siddur, Shavuot is referred to as the day of the giving of the Torah and not as the day we received it. Yes, it was a tremendous accomplishment and revelation that day however one should not think that it is limited to the 6th day of Sivan alone. Every single day should be like that day.

That is the way we all have to look at Torah. Today the Torah was given and received by us, not only on the 6th of Sivan but rather every single day. In Devarim, the Torah says the sound from Har Sinai was “Gadol v’lo Yasaf” – the Targum translates lo yasaf to mean that it did not stop. The sound of Torah being given and Hashem’s “voice” started at Har Sinai but it is still being heard by those that are listening to this very day.