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Wednesday, Sivan 4, 5780 / May 27, 2020 (48th day of the Omer)


The Torah was given to us at Mount Sinai, 3332 years ago. However, our sages tell us that we have to view this great event, each day, as if it happened today.


Just like we proclaim at the Passover Seder, "In every generation we must see ourselves as leaving Egypt", so too, we view the Giving of the Torah, in the spiritual sense, as if it takes place in the present. As if G-d gives it to each individual Jew in every generation.


This is reflected in the blessing we recite each day, thanking G-d for the Torah, and also when called to the Torah; "Blessed are you L-rd Who gives the Torah."  We say gives in the present tense. 


Indeed, our sages tell us that, "Each day the Torah shall be in your eyes as new!"


It is customary to eat dairy on the first day of Shavuot (we already mentioned the reason for that). It is also customary that on the first night of the holiday (Thursday night) we stay up and study Torah.  


It is also customary to decorate the synagogue with flowers, branches and greenery for Shavuot. Unfortunately, due to the Covid, many synagogues are still closed, however, we can decorate our homes (which have become our temporary synagogues), in honor of the holiday.


Reason for staying up and studying Torah during the first night of Shavuot: When G-d came down on Mount Sinai to give the Torah, He came early in the morning, but the people were still asleep. The night was one of their most peaceful nights since the Exodus. G-d waited for them until they woke up and made their way to Mount Sinai. This was considered an error and we stay up this night studying Torah to correct their mistake.


Reason for decorating the synagogue: The Torah was given at Mount Sinai which is in the desert.  Yet, in honor of the Giving of the Torah G-d performed a special miracle and the entire area surrounding the mountain sprouted trees and grass. To commemorate this miracle we decorate the synagogue with branches, trees and plants.


Although G-d doesn’t perform miracles for no purpose, this miracle was to teach the people an important lesson. Torah can transform one's life and surroundings from a spiritual wasteland and wilderness into a fruitful landscape filled with beauty, wisdom and purpose.


Torah is compared to water. Said the Rabbi of Lublin: Water has enormous power; it can wash away anything that stands in its path and is always on the move, resembling life.  Yet, if water becomes too cold, it freezes and is like a rock. The same is with Torah and mitzvot. If they are performed cold - without any feeling, then one's spiritual service is lacking. Torah and mitzvot should be performed with warmth and enthusiasm.