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Post –Shavuot

Of all the holidays of the Jewish calendar year, Shavuot is the shortest – celebrated only for one day. Many times, this holiday somehow leaves people feeling unfulfilled by what they had hoped to be a spiritual and joyful experience. The reasons for this are numerous – all night learning sessions which engender a day of sleep, lack of any specific commandment associated with the holiday in our time, and other sundry factors that all contribute to this certain feeling of unease and non-fulfillment. Nevertheless, this holiday is one of the three major holidays of the Jewish calendar, and commemorates the basis for Judaism and Jewish life, the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai to the generation of Jews that had just left Egypt. 
But it is often difficult to commemorate an event without having a special commandment or ritual associated with the holiday. Anniversaries of great events are not necessarily meaningful in the absence of special ritual or public programs. And the holiday of Shavuot did not provide us with any such commemorative program. As such, we are left with a certain feeling of frustration, a lack of true appreciation of the greatness of the day, and the eternal message of the holiday. 
Naturally, customs have arisen that are associated with the day of Shavuot, that blend tradition and ‘halacha.’ Nevertheless, in the minds and hearts of Jewish people, eating dairy foods does not equal the crackling taste of Matzo or sitting in a Sukkah.
Since the Torah does not allow for randomness or lapses of memory or vision, as is generally the case with human beings, we must conclude that the structuring of the holiday of Shavuot was done purposely and with holy intent. The Torah never intended the holiday to be purely an anniversary or commemorative date of revelation, such as on Independence Day. Rather, it left the commemoration of the granting of the Torah at Mount Sinai as an open-ended type of celebration.
In other words, the Jewish people could make of it what they wish it to be. This reflects generally on the Torah itself. The study in pursuit of Torah knowledge is purposely left open-ended. It has no limits, and is not bound by time and culture, but is eternal and universal. Every generation and every Jew can add additional insight and knowledge to the existing compendium of Torah knowledge and study that has come before. 
Even though the Mishna and the Talmud have long been edited many centuries ago, they are still studied in the world of the yeshiva in a manner that encourages new insights and new explanations, possible different analyses, and the encouragement of the development of the mind and creativity of the individual student. Therefore, the study of Torah is compared to an ever-gushing fountain of water that always provides new water to quench the thirst of different generations and even of different cultures.
 As such, every day of the year, every time a Jew is engaged in the study of Torah, that moment becomes a new anniversary of the day of the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. Most anniversaries and dates of commemoration are limited to one event and one date alone, with a regular routine the rest of the time. However, Shavuot is a never-ending holiday, even though it is celebrated only one day of the year on the Jewish calendar.
Though we do not deny the desire of Jews, if they wish, to eat Matzo or sit in a Sukkah during the entire year, it is obvious that we do not do so, and that, in fact, we are prevented from doing so, for we are taught that one is not allowed to add to the Torah, just as one is not allowed to detract from a Torah commandment. We are commanded to study Torah every day of our lives, and not only on the day of its anniversary. 
The Torah apparently wanted us to feel unfulfilled when the holiday of Shavuot passed, because in that vague feeling of unfulfillment lies the drive to continue the study and pursue of the knowledge of God and the holiness of Creation. Torah is referred to in our prayers as being the length of our entire day. Just as in many matters in life, we remain somewhat unfulfilled, and continue to try to achieve what we feel to be still lacking. So, too, does Torah demand of us to stretch our days, to make them warm and certainly more meaningful.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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