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Tuesday, Iyar 25, 5783 (Hakhel Year) 40th Sefirah / May 16, 2023


The holiday of Shavuot will be celebrated at the end of next week. In Israel, Shavuot will be celebrated only one day: Thursday night, May 25th & Friday May 26. In the Diaspora we celebrate two days, also, Friday night & Shabbat May 27. On Shavuot we received the Torah at Mount Sinai.


Q.   How old was Moshe at the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai?


A.   Moshe was eighty years and his brother, Aaron eighty-three.


Q.  Why did G-d choose to give the Torah at Mount Sinai and not on one of the taller mountains?


A.Our sages tell us that the taller mountains figured that G-d will choose to give the Torah on them. But G-d chose Mount Sinai, for the very fact that it is not a tall mountain. G-d wanted to teach the Jewish people that Torah cannot be acquired when one feels tall and haughty. Only through humility and modesty can one merit acquiring and absorbing the depth of the knowledge of Torah. Humility and Torah go hand in hand.


Mount Sinai teaches us another important lesson. When coming to learn Torah one may encounter obstacles. Good things do not come easy.


Mount Sinai is a small mountain. G-d didn’t give the Torah on a high mountain. Mount Sinai is a manageable mountain. It is climbable. It teaches us that, yes, one has to put effort into it, one has to climb the mountain, but it is within reach of everyone who decides to make the effort.


Our sages say that G-d does not demand of us something which we cannot handle. If He commands us to study Torah and perform the mitzvot, He also gives us the ability to accomplish it.


When a person makes the effort, G-d helps them overcome all obstacles. We only have to trust that G-d helps.


Q.   The Torah was given 3335 years ago. How is it relevant in today’s day and age?


A.  Although the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai took place 3335 years ago, we have to view that 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 each day.


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


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