Sign up to TorahFax


Monday, Sivan 2, 5783 (Hakhel Year) 46th Sefirah / May 22, 2023


More on the holiday of Shavuot – the holiday when we received the Torah at Mount Sinai, which begins this Thursday night. The following are questions and answers about the holiday of Shavuot.


Q.Why is there a custom to decorate the synagogue with trees, flowers, and greenery for Shavuot?


A. The Reason: The Torah was given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai which is in the Sinai desert.  However, 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.


Q.G-d doesn’t perform any unnecessary miracles. Why did He perform this miracle?


A.Our sages explain that this miracle was to teach us that Torah has the power to transform one's life and surroundings from a spiritual wasteland and wilderness into a fruitful landscape filled with wisdom and purpose.


The Torah teaches us our purpose in this world and gives value and meaning as to what our mission is in this world. Thus, G-d performed this wonderful miracle to make us realize the true purpose of Torah.


The Torah tells us that the Two Tablets and the Ten Commandments in them, “Were the work of G-d, and the writing was the writing of G-d engraved upon the Tablets." 


The lesson: Letters which are engraved are totally one with the stone in which they are carved.  Similarly, the connection between a Jew and the Torah should be so strong that they are one.  The Ten Commandments were engraved to teach us that the Torah must be engraved in the soul of every Jew.


Q. We know that the Torah has 613 commandments. The Two Tablets had only ten commandments on them. When were the other 603 commandments given?


A. Unlike the Ten Commandments which were engraved on the Two Tablets by G-d, the other commandments were written in the Torah by Moshe, but they were all given at Mount Sinai.


Our sages point out that by delving into the hidden aspects of the Ten Commandments one can find all the other commandments hidden and included in the Ten Commandments.


Q. Why do we stay up on the first night of Shavuot studying Torah?


A. When G-d came down on Mount Sinai to give the Torah, He came very early in the morning, but the people were still asleep. G-d waited for them until they woke up.  We stay up the first night of Shavuot studying Torah in order to correct our forefather’s error.