Sign up to TorahFax


Thursday, Sivan 5, 5783 (Hakhel Year) 49th Sefirah / May 25, 2023


Tonight (Thursday night) we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot.  Although the Giving of the Torah was in the morning, all Jewish holidays begin from the night.  


The reason is that in the story of creation, where the Torah tells us what happened each day, the night precedes the day. The day comes after the night.


One of the obvious questions about Shavuot is why is it that this special holiday which commemorates the Giving of the Torah, the greatest event in Jewish history, is not celebrated in a special way, with special mitzvot associated with this holiday as we do with the other holidays. 


On Pesach, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot we perform special mitzvot and recite special blessings for these mitzvot which symbolize the importance of that day.  Even Chanukah and Purim which are rabbinical mitzvot have special significant mitzvot associated with them.


On Shavuot however, the day of the Giving of the Torah, which is the basis for all other holidays and mitzvot, we don’t have any special blessings or celebration to characterize this special day?


The answer is that it is because of the importance of this holiday that we do not celebrate it with any special mitzvot.  Shavuot is not a celebration of a specific day and a specific event.  It is the celebration of our very existence as a people - our being Jewish.  Shavuot is celebrated in our daily actions all year long, by adhering to the laws of Torah and fulfilling its commandments.


Thus, G-d didn’t give us any special mitzvot (except for a few which applied in the Beth Hamikdash (Temple), because the mitzvot of Shavuot, i.e. the upkeep of the Torah, applies all year round.


As mentioned yesterday, Torah is likened to water, for many reasons. Rabbi Akiva explains that just like a fish cannot sustain itself without water, so too, a Jew cannot survive without Torah. Receiving the Torah is a daily event and is celebrated in our every day-to-day way of life.


Tomorrow, Friday, the Ten Commandments will be read in Synagogue. Although the Ten commandments are read two more times during the year when we read Parshat Yitro and Va’etchanan, yet, the reading of the Ten commandments on Shavuot, the day when G-d gave us the Torah, is particularly significant. 


It is important that everyone, men, women and children, attend synagogue to hear the Ten Commandments Friday morning.


In the Diaspora, the Yizkor-memorial prayer, when we pray and mention our parents who are not with us anymore, will be recited during the Saturday morning prayer.




Montreal candle lighting time: Thurs.: 8:11 / Friday: 8:12