Shavuot, the Pinnacle of Transition


Shavuot, the Pinnacle of Transition


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Shavuot, the end of the Transition

By Nachum Mohl

As we said in earlier articles, Passover is a time of transition, and the period of the Omer is a continuation of the transition. Shavuot is the final period of that transition.

There are two separate and distinct transitions that take place during the Passover to Shavuot period. Passover is the time of our liberation, our release from slavery and bondage. It is a celebration of the end of our physical slavery and our entering into being free men. But the release from forced labor was not an end to the miracle that G-d did for us; we were destined to greater glory than just being "free men." We were destined to receive the Torah which would transform us from merely being "free men" and elevate us to becoming noblemen, as the servants of G-d.

However in order to realize this lofty goal, we had to not just be free in body, but also free in mind. Passover was the freeing of the body, but Shavuot was the time of the freeing of the mind. The period between the two holidays, Passover and Shavuot, which we call the Omer period, was a time to transform ourselves from the lowly state of being slaves with its accompanying mentality and to prepare us for becoming noblemen and its totally different mentality.

Had we just been released from our slavery, we might have been free men, but it would be only in the physical. Mentally and spiritually we would remain the same. It would have taken many years to realize our potentials, since a slave, especially one who was born to parents who were slaves, has both a low opinion of his own potential to function and lacks the personal resources to achieve that potential.

As an example, when President Lincoln freed the Negro slaves and granted them equality under the law, it did not automatically make them equal to their former white masters. They lacked the educational background to function as an equal and they themselves knew in their hearts that they could not compete as equals, for they looked upon themselves as inferior.

So too, when the Jewish nation left the slavery of Egypt, they were unable to see themselves as capable functioning noblemen. Yet it was G-d's desires that this nation, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were to become a holy nation. They were to be G-d's ministers. Like a great king who expects that his ministers be men of high character and education, G-d also required that we achieve our maximum. Hence it was necessary that we receive G-d's vital message to mankind of what was expected of us and how to act in a manner fitting G-d's ministers.

The act of G-d's giving us the Torah at Mount Sinai transformed us from a nation like all other nations to a unique nation, a group of people dedicated to insuring that G-d's Holiness be brought down to earth. The Torah is the text book that explains in full the desires that G-d has for us that we may serve him properly and via this service become a noble and holy people.

It was the Torah that transformed not just us but the entire world to realize that G-d's existence is one in which our daily lives realize an importance even in performing mundane worldly matters when they are performed in the manner prescribed in the Torah.

It was not just the Jewish nation that benefited from G-d's decision to give the Jews the Torah, but the entire world. Now when anyone seeks G-d he may just open the Torah and through study he will come to understand how to come closer to Him.

Shavuot is the final stage in the process of transition that began on Passover; a process that took us from the lowest level of human existence, the slave, to the highest, the minister of G-d.


from the June 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine




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