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Friday, Sivan 1, 5784 / June 7, 2024 (45th day of the Omer)


Today, Friday,is Rosh Chodesh Sivan - the first day of the new Hebrew month, Sivan


On this day, Rosh Chodesh Sivan, six weeks after the Exodus from Egypt, in the year 2448 (3336 years ago), the Jewish people arrived at Mount Sinai in preparation to receive the Torah. They received the Torah six days later, on the sixth of Sivan, which was on Shabbat.


The holiday of Shavuot comes 50 days after the Passover holiday, when we celebrated our freedom from bondage and slavery. Shavuot and Passover are connected by the mitzvah of counting the Omer, which we perform each night between the two holidays.


Shavuot is the only holiday which is not identified in the Torah by the day of the month. The Torah sets Shavuot on the 50th day after Passover. Thus, we see a strong connection of the holiday of the Giving of the Torah and Passover.


Why is Shavuot and Passover connected? Shavuot is the completion of Passover, for the purpose of the Exodus was for the sake of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. Indeed, The Ten Commandments, which G-d gave us at Mount Sinai on Shavuot, begin: “I am G-d your G-d, Who has taken you out of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”


This teaches us a profound lesson in the concept of freedom.Even after the Jewish people were liberated from Egypt, they still lacked true freedom.  Only at Mount Sinai, where they received the Torah, which is our guide and purpose in life, did they achieve complete freedom.


Doing what one pleases without direction is not freedom but rather enslavement to one's instincts and desires.  Eventually, it causes a person to feel hollow and lacking purpose. Only at Mount Sinai, with their acceptance of the Ten Commandments and the Torah, did they/we become a free people. 


The Torah describes the Two Tablets given to Moshe from G-d at Mount Sinai, "The Tablets were the work of G-d, and the writing was the writing of G-d engraved upon the Tablets." 


The difference between writing and engraving is that when words are written, the letters and the object they are written on are two entities. Letters engraved on stone are one with the stone in which they are engraved. Similarly, the connection between a Jew and the Torah should be so strong that they are one - i.e. Torah and its commandments must be "engraved" and be part of the soul of every Jew.


The Talmud says, "If a person tells you, I have made an effort in the study of Torah, but I have not succeeded, do not believe him. If a person tells you, I didn't make any effort and I have succeeded, do not believe him. When a person tells you, I made an effort and I succeeded, believe him!"  Torah and Mitzvot take effort, like engraving, but the success and reward is great.



Montreal candle lighting time: 8:23 / Shabbat ends: 9:40