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It’s Happening Right Now

Earlier this week, we discussed how everything in this world was created for the sake of the Torah. Elephants, ants, fingernails, and the chair that you’re sitting on were all created only for the purpose of enabling us to keep the 613 mitzvos.

With this background, we can now understand why Ma’amad Har Sinai – the Giving of the Torah – was such a powerful event in the history of the world. The whole world was created for this moment! As Rashi points out1 the entire world was created only for “Yom HaShishi” – the 6th of Sivan, the day when the Jewish people received the Torah.

Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l2 asks an interesting question: If Ma’amad Har Sinai was such a significant moment in the history of the world, why didn’t Hashem give us any mitzvos to remind us of Ma’amad Har Sinai? We have many mitzvos that are meant to remind us of how we left Egypt, but we don’t have any specific mitzvos that remind us of the Giving of the Torah.

Why didn’t Hashem give us any mitzvos to remind us of Ma’amad Har Sinai?

Rav Kotler answers by explaining that the concept of “remembering” only applies to events that happened in the past, and are no longer occurring. You “remember” your 10th birthday party because it happened in the past, and it’s never happening again. You “remember” what you ate for breakfast because it’s over and done.

But Ma’amad Har Sinai is different. Although the Jewish people received the Torah over 2,000 years ago, the truth is that Ma’amad Har Sinai is something that can happen every single moment of the the day. Every moment that a person is learning Torah, he is personally reenacting Ma’amad Har Sinai. When a person learns Torah, he essentially is “receiving the Torah” from Hashem onto himself at that moment. “The Giving of the Torah” isn’t just an event that happened in the past; rather, it is something that we can experience every moment of our lives, whenever we learn Torah. 

Every moment that a person is learning Torah, he is personally reenacting Ma’amad Har Sinai.

For this reason, the Gemara mentions several Tannaim whose Torah learning produced fire. For example, Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Yehoshua were once learning Torah at the bris of Elisha ben Avuya, and they became surrounded by fire3. Similarly, when Yonason ben Uziel would study Torah, any birds that flew over his head became consumed with fire.4 This fire produced by a single person’s study of Torah is reminiscent of the fire and smoke5 that appeared on the day Hashem gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Har Sinai.

When a Jew learns Torah, his learning is – in a certain way – just as powerful as the moment when the entire Jewish nation received the Torah.

This Shavuos, let’s remember the power of Torah learning and how we are now accepting the Torah upon ourselves, just as the Jewish people did at Har Sinai.

Sources: [1] Rashi on Bereishis 1:31; [2] Kol MeiHeichal – Shavuos 5766 as quoted on Revach.net; [3] Yerushalmi Chagiga 2:1; [4] Succah 28a; [5] Shemos 19:18

Your Challenge

Learn Torah for at least 5 minutes on Shavuos. Before you begin to learn, think to yourself: “I am accepting the Torah onto myself, just like the Jewish people accepted the Torah at Har Sinai.”

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