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Home » Shavuot

Shavuot: Sinai and Beyond

Submitted by on November 2, 2005 – 3:32 amNo Comment | 1,108 views

Ascent and Descent

Shavuot is the holiday that celebrates the Torah, Mt. Sinai and the Ten Commandments.  In conjunction with this holiday, the Jerusalem Talmud declares, ”Up till this point there was a separation between heaven and earth. The time had come to undo this separation, the heavens would descend to earth and earth would rise to heaven.”

The Talmud clearly defines two aspects in the accomplishment of this goal: (a) heaven must descend to earth and (b) earth must rise to heaven. The first was obviously accomplished through the G-d’s descent to Mt. Sinai and bestowing upon this world a Torah that the angels affectionately called “A delightful treasure hidden in the heavens above”.

The other half of this equation, that of earth rising to heaven, was a process that began at Mt. Sinai but did not meet with full success until the Bet Hamikdash was erected on the Temple Mount almost 500 years later. Though Jews studied Torah, practiced Mitzvos, erected altars and built sanctuaries, they had not succeeded in building a permanent home that G-d would adopt for eternity.

A Permanent Home

Mt. Sinai was holy but only for as long as G-d’s presence remained manifest on it. The Tabernacle was holy but it was a transitory holiness, it traveled with the Jews and was continuously relocated. Only with the establishment of the temple could King David proclaim that this would be the resting place of G-d “for ever and ever.”

In a sense, the Bet Hamikdash, or more correctly the spot on the Temple mount that once housed the Bet Hamikdash, was the first tangible spot in this world that underwent the transformation of Tikun Olam. It successfully became “An abode for G-d in the material world.”

Sacred Vehicles

Our objective today is to affect this status throughout the rest of the world. By using a strap of leather to fashion a pair of Teffilin, by utilizing a slab of wax to forge a candle for Shabbos, we transform these physical objects into vehicles for holiness. By fulfilling these Mitzvos in the sanctity of our homes, offices or Synagogues we transform these rooms into a “Mikdash Miat” (mini sanctuary).

In this way we continue to spread G-d’s holiness until we ultimately succeed in fulfilling his original mandate for creation, “To establish a dwelling place for G-d in the Lower realm.”

On this day the Prophecy of Isaiah will come to fruition “ The nations of the world will be moved to the service of G-d and they shall all worship in unity, together as one man”.

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