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Wednesday, Sivan 4, 5783 (Hakhel Year) 48th Sefirah / May 24, 2023


Questions & Answers on the holiday of Shavuot – the holiday of the Giving of the Torah


Q.   Was the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, G-d’s first revelation to Moshe at Mount Sinai?


A.   Moshe’s first encounter with G-d at Mount Sinai was a year earlier.  Moshe, who was caring for his father-in-law’s sheep, brought his flock to Mount Sinai. G-d revealed Himself to him from a burning bush, commanding him to go to Pharaoh and take the Jewish people out of Egypt. 


Q. Why did G-d choose Mount Sinai for the Giving of the Torah?


A.   Our sages say that the reason G-d chose Mount Sinai, is because it was a small mountain. G-d wanted to teach us that the proper way we can benefit from the Torah is when we are humble. No matter how much Torah knowledge a person achieves, he should conduct himself with humility. But, at the same time, the Torah was given on a mountain to teach us that the Torah does lift a person up spiritually when studying and adhering to the Torah.  


Q.   Why is the Torah compared to water?


A.  1) Just like water flows from a high place down to the lowest level, the Torah will not stay with those who are haughty and hold themselves high, but rather with those who are humble.


2) Water cleans the body and purifies a person spiritually (by immersing in a Mikvah), so too, the Torah sanctifies and spiritually purifiesa person's body and soul.


3) Water is most appreciated when a person is thirstyand the same is with Torah. To truly appreciate its value, one must develop a thirstfor it.


4)  Just as water (rain) comes down in dropsand yet has the power to raise the levels of streams and rivers, so too is true of Torah. If one studies even a little Torah each day, it accumulates and raises the person to great spiritual heights.


The Rebbe of Lublin made the following comparison between Torah, mitzvot and water. "Water has enormous power; it can wash away anything that stands in its path and is always on the move, resembling life.  However, 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 warmth, feeling and personal dedication, then one's spiritual service is lacking and will not accomplish all that it could.  However, if one studies Torah and keeps the mitzvot with fire; warmth and enthusiasm, then one can attain great accomplishments and great spiritual benefits."