This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon
This week's Parsha mentions the different festivals
that we have throughout the year.
The festival days stand out from the other days of
the year, they put a halt to our everyday activities, so that
we can dedicate all our spiritual activities to these days.
These days give us the power, spirit and consecration for the future, by revivifying those ideas upon
which our life is based.
(Artscroll Chumash - based on Rav S.R. Hirsch)
The festival of Shavuos is one of these festivals.
The festival of Shavuos marks the culmination of the seven weeks of
the counting of the "Omer".
Unlike all the other festivals, the actual date for Shavuos is not mentioned in the Torah, rather the
Torah tells us that, "From the day after the first day of Pesach, we are commanded to count 49 days,
and the 50th day is the festival of Shavuos.
The festival of Shavuos follows the counting of 49 days, for when the Jews left Egypt, Moshe
Rabeinu told the Bnei Yisroel that they were supposed to receive the Torah on the 6th of Sivan, thus
they counted till the 50th day in anticipation to receive the Torah.
We count the Omer for these 49 days.
Rav Yisroel Miller asks, "What does the Omer counting have
to do with Shavuos?"
The Omer was an offering of barley which was brought to the Beis Hamikdash, on the second day of
Pesach. This Omer offering was the bringing of ones first crop of that year, as an expression of
gratitude to Hashem.
Omer refers to the amount of the offering that was
Asks Rav Frand, isn't this strange that we call the Korban by its measurement, its like calling a
Korban a Liter Korban or a Kilogram Korban?
Why such a name for a Korban?
The Sefer Beir Yosef brings down a Midrash which
The term Omer is found by the receiving of the "Mahn". While the Jews were traveling in the dessert,
each person received the volume of an Omer of Mahn.
Thus we see that the Omer is brought to give thanks to Hashem and as a sign of Hakaras Ha Tov for
what we receive from Hashem.
Our bread, which is our Parnassah (our income), comes
from Hashem. Then, now and in the future.
Rav Miller continues by stating that in our days, as we prepare during these 49 days till Matan
Torah, each one of us has his own obstacles. Whether its laziness, habit... and we may be afraid to
make those needed changes in our life, to sincerely accept the Torah.
One may be afraid that if he would have to fully commit himself to the Torah, one would have to
make radical changes in his life, and thus be afraid
to make any commitments.
Therefor the Torah commands us to count 49 days to prepare ourselves for Shavuos. By counting these
49 days, we remind ourselves of the 49 days that the Bnei Yisroel traveled in the dessert, they had
nothing what to eat, yet they relied on Hashem, each day for food, food that would help bring him to
the Matan Torah.
So as long as our goal in life is to reach Har Sinai, if one wants to reach the Torah, then Hashem will
give you the strength that you need to reach this
This period, between Pesach and Shavuos, is a time which we are to utilize to prepare us for the
receiving of the Torah on Shavuos.
The Torah does not say "The sixth of Sivan is Shavuos", rather the Torah chose to reveal this day,
by counting the days from the bringing of the Omer.
Why is Shavuos different than all the other festivals?
Rav Dessler writes in his Sefer Michtav MeEliyahiu, that the Torah teaches:
"You shall count for yourselves, starting from the day after Shabbat.
There shall be seven complete Shabbatot, until the day after the 7th Shabbat.
You shall count 50 days."
From the teachings of our Sages, we know that the first Shabbat that is mentioned in the Pasuk, is
talking about Pesach, for this is another name for Pesach.
The other Shabbatot that are mentioned in the next verses are talking about actual weeks, "Omer
weeks", which do not necessarily start on a Sunday.
Why did the Torah write Shabbat, why didn't the Torah write Pesach or the first day of the festival?
This would have been clearer to us, and avoid any
Rav Dessler explains that "Shabbat" means to cease from doing work, to stop one's every day activities.
Just like on Pesach we are told to abstain "Tashbitu" from eating or owning Chametz, the same term
is used for Shabbat, to abstain from working.
On Pesach, we remember our freedom from Egypt, our spiritual defilement in Egypt ceased on this day.
Therefore the day after the Shabbat, the day after this defilement ceased, we are to
count 7 Shabbatot, 7 weeks of preparation to completely
remove this impurity from within ourselves, through constant and
unremitting effort. (Rabbi Aryeh Carmell).
Rav Shlesinger explains in his Sefer (Alei Hadvarim), that there is a Mishna in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of
our Fathers) which states :
"Moshe received the Torah at Mt.Sinai, and he gave it over to Yehoshua, and Yehoshua gave it over
to the Elders, the Elders to the Neviim, the Neviim
to the Anshei Knesses Hagdolah."
The day of "Matan Torah" (The Giving of the Torah), exists in every generation.
For when Yehoshua received the Torah from his teacher, Moshe, it was his personal day of Matan
When a father teaches his son Torah, this is also a day of Matan Torah.
He in essence is continuing the "giving over"
The source of this giving, originates all the way
back to Moshe at Har Sinai.
Thus we see, that in actuality, there is no set day for Matan Torah, because we are supposed to
utilize every day of our lives to give Torah to others, this is the true Kabalas HaTorah (Receiving of
On the day of Shavuos, we call it the day of Matan Torah, for this is the day that Moshe received
the Torah, this was the beginning of Kabalas Ha Torah
for all the later generations.
It comes out, that the day of "The Giving of the Torah", is also the day which we celebrate the
festival of Shavuos.
Thus the Torah does not state the day for Chag Shavuos,
which is also, "Chag Matan Torah".
This year Pesach Sheini falls out on this Friday,
the 14th of the month of Iyar.
On this day, when the Beis Hamikdash was in existence, those who didn't or were unable to bring a
Korban Pesach on the 14th of Nissan, were able to
bring it on this day.
This day is not considered a festival.
However, since this day was a happy and joyous day for those who brought their Korban Pesach
on this day, we don't say Tachanun on this day.
There are those who have the Minhag to eat on this day Matzah that was left over from Pesach, in
remembrance of the Korban Pesach that was eaten with Matzos. (Sefer HaTodah - Eliyahu Ki
There are those who are even more meticulous and they eat Matzos with boiled eggs on the night of
the 15th of Iyar, and they also learn the laws of
The Sefer Otzar Taamei Haminhagim brings down another reason for those who eat Matzoh on this
day, because when the Bnei Yisroel left Egypt, they ate Matzos which they baked when they left, till
the 14th of Iyar, from then on, they needed to rely
on the Mahn for food. (Shemos 16:1 Rashi).