Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Shavuous - 5777

A JEWISH WAY TO CELEBRATE 

The Talmud shares with us an interesting dispute between the great authorities of the Mishnaic era; "Rabbi Eliezer says: A person can choose on a Festival; he either eats and drinks or sits and learns the entire day, but there is no specific Mitzvah to eat on the Festival. 

Rabbi Yehoshua, on the other hand, says: Divide the day, half of it for eating and drinking and half of it for the study hall, for he holds that eating and drinking are obligatory on the Festival.  Rabbi Elazar said, “All agree with regard to Shavuot, that it is a Mitzvah to eat, drink, and rejoice on that day.  What is the reason?  It is the day on which the Torah was given, and one must celebrate the fact that the Torah was given to the Jewish people."

What we are being told by Rabbi Elazar is that although the other Chagim are times to rejoice, Shavuot has something unique to it that requires physical enjoyment. 

To understand this statement we must remember that in Judaism, unlike other religions, the world, and the flesh are not enemies to the soul.  For us, the physical world can become holy, when used properly and for the right reason. 

Shavuot, the day we commemorate the revelation and the teachings that guide every aspect of our lives, is a time to use the gifts of the physical world, as part of our celebration.

Wishing the entire Kehillah a Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach