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Dear  Naaleh Friend,
The holiday of Shavuot is a time for Torah learning! offers a wide range of classes for all our users to help prepare for this holiday.

This week we have featured a class from the series Shavuot: Accepting the Torah.  The class is taught by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller and is called The Makings of Mashiach.  In this class, Rebbetzin Heller discusses the last chapter in the Book of Ruth, which describes the unique process in which the Mashiach is brought into this world and its relevance for our own personal redemption.
To watch this class now and learn more please click on the image below: 
Shavuot: Accepting the Torah 

This week's edition of our Torat Imecha Newsletter on Shavuot is available on our Newsletter page
Click here for the printer friendly version, to share at your Yom Tov table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring Torah classes! 
Chag Sameach!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
Atzeret Atonement
While all of the festivals have the prohibition of refraining from work, they generally also have specific mitzvot related to each day. Shavuot, however, has no positive commandment directly associated with it, aside from the special offering of the day, the bikurim , and the offering of the two loaves of bread. Further, there was only one mitzvah Hashem commanded Bnei Yisroel in preparation for the original holiday, to establish boundaries around the mountain so that the nation would not ascend beyond the permitted point. How are they relevant today?
Shavuot was the day when individuals would joyously bring their first fruits to the Beit Hamikdash. But, according to Medrash Tanchumah, Moshe foresaw the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, and the time when we would not be able to bring the first fruits. Moshe promptly offered the daily sacrifice, the korban tamid, which inaugurated the concept of daily prayer. The prayers would become our substitute offering to God during the years of our exile. The Halekach Ve'halebuv explains that the special service and mitzvah of Shavuot offered our heartfelt prayers to Hashem. Just as the daily animal offering was tamim, whole and pure, so we should offer our prayers wholeheartedly and purely.
Rabbi Schorr continues, Shavuot is King David's birthday and his yahrzeit. As he writes in Psalms, he considered himself a complete prayer,ani tefillah. It is therefore appropriate that we devote time to forging a closer relationship with Hashem through prayer on this day, as did King David. It is also an auspicious time to recite Tehilim, King David's beautiful expressions of feeling for his Maker, writes Rav M. Druck. This recitation is considered both prayer and Torah study.
The prayer of Ahavah Rabah,is customarily said with extraordinary conviction and focus on Shavuot. Rabbi Schwab explains that this prayer is an expression of our reciprocation of Hashem's great love for us. We ask Hashem to enlighten our eyes with His Torah and attach our hearts to His commandments out of conviction and love.
While Chag Habikurim signifies a renewal of love between Hashem and the Jewish people,Atzeret implies restraint. How is this related to the holiday? We accepted the Torah a second time, on Purim, through love. What brought this about, asks Rabbi Roberts? Through examining Haman's psyche, Bnei Yisroel realized the evil that following one's emotions without restraint can lead to. Haman received the adulation of everyone except Mordechai. That rankled him so much that he was willing to annihilate an entire people in revenge. They understood that the only way to rein in the power of the yetzer hara was through Torah. Otherwise the yetzer hara would destroy everything, just as Haman's yetzer hara almost destroyed our entire nation.
We can now understand why Hashem commanded Bnei Yisroel to set boundaries around Mount Sinai. As Meirosh Tzurim writes, it is a lesson for ourselves that we need to put boundaries in place to help us control our own actions, thoughts and speech. Before we can accept the Torah, we have to make sure our driving engines, our emotions and middot are in proper working order.
The Kedushat Levi continues his discussion of Atzeret by reminding us that setting boundaries was the only command Bnei Yisroel received in connection with Matan Torah. This was the only vessel we had through which could actualize our love of Hashem and His Torah. We continue to use Atzeret as a name for the festival to retain the inspiration we felt at the initial experience.
The Netivot Shalom connects this Atzeret with Shemini Atzeret. While Shavuot is the day of Matan Torah, when the Torah was given to us, Shemini Atzeret is Simchat Torah, the day of rejoicing with the Torah. Both come after a count of fifty full days, the first day of Pesach to Shavuot, and from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Simchat Torah. Neither day has a specific mitzvah associated with it, as each is a symbol of the special love Hashem has for His people.
Our sages portray the two Tablets of the Law as black fire of the letters against white fire of the background. This is similar to the black ink on the white parchment of the Torah scroll. TheNetivot Shalom quoting the Noam Elimech writes that the black letters are holy, for through them the individual mitzvot are written. But the white fire, the blank parchment, is even holier, for while no specific mitzvah is mentioned, all the mitzvot are included in the white spaces. This is why we have no specific mitzvah associated with Atzeret, for this is the white fire of Torah and of our observance.
Rabbi Chaim Hacohen brings another connection between Shavuot and Shemini Atzeret."Ki ner mitzvah V'Torah ohr-a mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light." He explains that every mitzvah requires a physical medium for its performance, just as a candle is composed of a physical wick and oil. Torah, on the other hand, is pure energy, non physical, like the pure energy of light. Yet the two come together in this world just as the pure energy of the soul from heaven joins with the physical body. On all the other festivals of the year we are involved with the physical aspects of the world, the world of seven, but twice a year we can plug into the direct source of our energy without physical"wiring." On these two days of Atzeret we enter a dimension above the physical, we enter the realm of the eight and of the fifty. On these days we don't need the physical mitzvot, for we plug our souls directly into the Source.
Shavuot part 2 
Based on a shiur by Rebbezin Leah Kohn 

Angels are called omdim (standing). They do not have hidden potential. All they can do is act with the potential that they were given, but they cannot develop it further. Therefore Hashem only spoke to the angels once. However, man was given free choice and was commanded to overcome his evil inclination. Therefore Hashem spoke twice, one to create potential and the other to instruct us how to activate it.

The Torah tells us, " Hishomer lecha u'shemor nafshecha me'od pen tishkach et ha'devarim ha'eleh. Be wary and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget these things... You should teach your children and grandchildren and tell them about the day you stood in front of Hashem on Har Sinai." The obligation is not just to know Torah but to remember what happened on that day. We were not just given information or obligated to keep the commandments. Hashem instilled within us a potential that is unique to Klal Yisrael . T he Torah teaches us how to activate it. Our purpose is to reach a level at which we serve Hashem instinctively, so we won't be able to do otherwise.

Our natural state of being is with Hashem in Gan Eden. Our reality now is exile, which is unnatural. Everything in nature aims to come back to where it belongs. We must return to the point of Adam before the sin, where doing the will of Hashem was natural. In Kohelet , Shlomo Hamelech says, "Hashem created man straight, but he ruined it with distorted rationalizations." And so we don't always feel at home doing the will of Hashem. We can return to that state by activating our inner potential. It's a slow process and very few people might reach perfection. But it's not all or nothing. If we're on the path and believe we can achieve, that too is commendable. The day of Matan Torah tells us, "You have the potential within you, start activating it." Sometimes the yetzer hara might make it difficult to do Hashem's will, but if we understand what a mitzvah does and how it develops us, we can come to appreciate it.

Chazal say that at Matan Torah all of nature stood still. Life ceased as it had been and would begin again differently. At Har Sinai Hashem didn't just give us the Ten Commandments, He changed reality. The Torah is called a brit olam , an irrevocable covenant. When Hashem said, " V'atem tihiyu li am segulah , you will be my treasured nation," we became destined to bring the world to its purpose with the help of Hashem and the Torah.

On the first of Sivan, the Jews arrived in Midbar Sinai . " Vayichan sham Yisrael neged hahar. The Jews encamped across from the mountain." Rashi explains that vayichan in the singular form teaches us that they encamped like one person with one heart. They were united. Chazal indicate that this was a precondition for receiving the Torah. It is impossible for one Jew to keep the whole Torah. All of the laws cannot be fulfilled by one person. There are laws that relate to gender, location, and status. Yet we know, " Torat Hashem temimah meshivat nefesh. The Torah of Hashem is perfect, it restores the soul." If we don't have the ability to keep all of the Torah we lack life. Yet in reality we can. At Sinai, Hashem created Knesset Yisrael , a spiritual entity that encompasses all of Klal Yisrael and that makes us all one. We are each a different limb of one body and only together can we be whole.

The Ten Commandments are called Dibrot . The Sefat Emet observes that the root word daled , beit , resh , can be read as dabar , to lead. When Hashem gave us the ten dibrot he gave us ten sayings through which we would have the ability to control. Speech symbolizes the connection between body and soul. A Jew who is careful to keep his mouth pure, can impact the world through his Torah study and prayers. Each time we activate the potential that Hashem gave us when he gave us the mitzvot we become a leader with the power and ability to bring the world to its purpose.
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