Friday, May 21, 2010

Hold Fast...!

Thankfully, I had a truly wonderful Shavuos - I was able to finish the Tikkun with time to spare for the mikveh. According to the Kavanot (intentions) of the ARI HaKadosh (which were mentioned in my copy of the Tikkun Leil Shavuos), the prescribed number of dunks is four, while concentrating on each of the four letters of the Tetragrammaton (the Divine name that we pronounce as Adon-i) spelled with the kometz (part of the cantillation markings of the Aleph-Bais). I don't really understand these things, but I gave it a try. The previous day, I attempted to dunk forty nine times to correspond to the Sefirot, and while I succeeded, I was out of breath and felt weak, so once was enough for me.

Rav Tzvi Meir Zilberberg comments on the latter half of the blessing on the Torah "...Who gave us the Torah of truth and implanted eternal life within us." He explains that the hashpa'ot (influences; outpourings) that we receive during Shavuos are given to us in a similar fashion as "planting". The same way that a tree seedling must be protected from even the slightest damage, shielded from the elements, tended to with great care, and nurtured constantly, because otherwise it will not blossom properly - this is true as well for the hashpa'ot that we get on Shavuos, which carry in them the potential for the rest of the year. Therefore, immediately after we receive the Torah, we must be vigilant in our protection, because that is when the Evil Inclination is strongest; this is apparent when we look at the original Revelation at Sinai, and the subsequent sin of the Golden Calf.. We have to be steadfast in our renewed commitment to HaShem and His Torah, in order for the Torah to take root properly.

To me, it seems especially fortuitous the way the Chag worked out this year. The day after the holiday is known as Isru Chag. Isru is the language of binding, of "...bind the festival offering with cords..." On this day, we make a concerted effort to maintain the sanctity of the Chag as we continue back into the mundane. We do not say the Tachanun, in effect lashing the two days together.
Today is not only Isru Chag, it is already erev Shabbos, the day when we are consumed with preparations for Shabbos; the Evil Inclination hears his death knell, and as long as we are busy with our preparing for the upcoming Shabbos he is nearly powerless.

I believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for us to maintain that wonderful, transcendent moment we had during the Chag. Not only are we binding today to the Chag, the day is carrying us straight into the holy Shabbos!

We just have to hold on, as the Torah is a "Tree of Life for those who grasp it..." (Proverbs  3:18)

3 comments:

Moe said...

beautiful!

Reb Y. said...

R' Yitchok Hutner once stated that the forty days after Shevuos are the most glorious of the whole year. The Saporno (Shemos 12;22) says that from Shevous untill 17th of Tamuz- Kabbolas Hatorah until the eigal- were days of luchas rishomin- days that Klal Yisroel were on the leval of Adam before the chet. Just like we relive Kabbolas Hatorah every year on Shevuos so too we can tap into the awesome days that follow.

ramchal said...

Reb Shmuel, i am glad you made it thru the tikkun as that is the title of ur blog. I like your point about erev shabbos isru chag. keep up the uplifting posts.