Shavuos & Naso
A Celebration of Preparation
YomTov, vol. XIII, # 2
By Rabbi Yehudah Prero
This post is dedicated to the merit of Mordechai Leib ben Ita. May he
have a refuah shelaimah.
The Torah tells us about the three “pilgrimage” festivals – the Shalosh
Regalim. In the discussion of the Shalosh Regalim, we find (Devarim 16:16)
the following command: Three times in a year all your males should
appear before Hashem your G-d in the place that He shall choose; in the
Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzos), and in the Feast of Weeks (Chag
HaShavuos), and in the Feast of Booths (Chag HaSukkos). . . .
The names assigned to the holidays for the most part appear to correlate
to an event or commandment associated with the holiday. To start, the
holiday of Sukkos is aptly named. On this holiday, we are commanded to
dwell in Sukkos that commemorate our dwelling in “Sukkos” during the
sojourn in the desert. The name assigned to Pesach, “Chag HaMatzos,” is
also appropriate. On this holiday, that celebrates the exodus of the
nation of Israel from Egypt, we have the commandment to eat Matzo, which
reminds us of the bread that had no time to rise while the nation swiftly
The name “Chag HaShavu’os,” however, does not appear to fit this mold. We
know that we have a commandment to count the days and weeks between Pesach
and Shavu’os – Sefiras Ha’Omer. Yet, the holiday of Shavu’os, as we find
in the holiday prayers, is referred to as the “Z’man Matan
Toraseinu,” “The time of the giving of our Torah.” The holiday
commemorates this monumental event in our nation’s history. What is the
connection between the anniversary of the giving of the Torah and weeks?
Rav Avrohom Yitzchak Kook answers that indeed, each of the names is
reflective of the essence of the holiday. On Pesach, Chag HaMatzos, the
fulfillment of the special commandment of the day is accomplished through
matzah, which illustrates that the holiday is the Z’man Cha'rusainu, time
of our freedom. On Sukkos, Chag HaSukkos, the fulfillment is through
dwelling in the Sukkah, even though the holiday is termed the Z’man
Simchaseinu, “time of our happiness.”
A gift cannot be given unless there is a recipient to accept the gift.
Shavu’os, as mentioned, is termed the Z’man Matan Toraseinu, the time of
the giving of our Torah. Because the holiday commemorates a “giving,” we
need to prepare ourselves to be proper recipients. Obviously, this
preparation entails more than one day’s work. We are given seven weeks to
prepare for this special day, for this day on which we accept the Torah
Yes, from the perspective of Hashem, so to speak, this holiday is the time
that the Torah was given. However, from our perspective, this is the
holiday in which we celebrate the receipt of the Torah. We celebrate the
culmination of seven weeks of preparing for this receipt. On Chag
Ha’Shavuos, the fulfillment of the special commemoration of the day was
accomplished through “Shavu’os” – the weeks of preparation, and therefore
such a name is wholly appropriate.
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yehudah Prero and Torah.org.
The author has Rabbinic ordination from Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem, NY.