shavuot

OTS Marks Rabbi Riskin’s Birthday with 24-hours of Torah Learning

Ohr Torah Stone Marks Rabbi Riskin’s 80th Birthday with 24-hours of Non-Stop Torah Learning Ohr Torah Stone celebrated Founder, Chancellor Emeritus and Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s 80th birthday with a most fitting tribute – through 24-hours of non-stop Torah learning, featuring a choice of two classes each half hour, given by 96 OTS rabbis, …

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“Parsha and Purpose” – Shavuot/Naso 5780

“Parsha and Purpose” – Shavuot/Naso 5780
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

“Shavuot, God and Creating Eternal Holiness”

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“Shavuot, God and Creating Eternal Holiness”

Did you ever wonder why, when it comes to the holiday of Pesach, Sukkot, or Rosh haShana or Yom Kippur, there are specific mitzvot to do- whether it’s eating matza and maror, sitting in the sukka or shaking lulav and etrog, hearing the shofar, or fasting. But when it comes to the holiday of Shavuot, which concretizes our relationship with God, there are no particular commandments! Eating cheesecake is not a biblical commandment. Why are there no particular commandments for the holiday of Shavuot?

I believe there is a deep message here for us. First, the acknowledgement of the fact that our relationship with God, which is fully celebrated on Shavuot, cannot be limited to a particular basket of commandments. It’s the way we engage with God every single day that’s important.

We take out 25 hours – or outside of Israel we take out two days – to reflect upon that perspective: that Shavuot is about the way we talk to our neighbors, how we fill out our tax forms, how we interact with our spouses, our children, our grandchildren, our parents. 

And that’s why it’s not limited to specific commandments. To highlight the fact that Shavuot requires us to realize that our engagement with God is based on our entire weltanschauung on life.

It is God who creates the holiness on Mount Sinai, and therefore when God leaves, the holiness dissipates. But in  the Temple, it wasn’t God alone that created the holiness; the holiness was created by the partnership with the Jewish people. Likewise our synagogues: the holiness may emanate from God, but that holiness is created because the energy of the community, the energy of the people. And when holiness is created in partnership, between God and the Jewish people, that holiness is eternal.

What an important message for us! We are the ones who guarantee the eternality of the holiness. We guarantee that holiness lasts forever. We play a role in the future of the Jewish people, in the future of society, and even – according to Rav Kook – in the future of God, in the future of God’s role within this world. 

And therefore Shavuot is not limited to a particular commandment. Holiness created in partnership with God lasts forever, and holiness that is created by God alone just lasts for a moment. 

What a power we have, the capacity to change the world! Let’s recognize that as we celebrate this holiday of Matan Torah, this holiday in which we also – in Israel at least – read on Shabbat the Parsha of Naso, of rising and playing a leadership role in our relationship with God, and let us understand that we need to take a moment back on Shavuot and ask ourselves how each and every one of us can change the world around us, can transform ourselves, and in the process, transform society around us. 

Chag Matan Torah Sameach, Chag Shavuot Sameach.

Is Rut Really a Role Model?

Is Rut Really a Role Model? By Rabbanit Dena Freundlich, Ram’it in the Maria and Joel Finkle Overseas Program at Midreshet Lindenbaum The Question About a year ago, a Midreshet Lindenbaum alumna (Sarah Cabot, ML 5778) posed a thought-provoking question to me over WhatsApp about the character of Rut.  Her query unsettled me because it hit …

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The Second Tablets and the Role of Divine Intervention in the Halachic Process

Rabbi Kenneth Brander

The Second Tablets and the Role of Divine Intervention in the Halachic Process Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander Shavuot celebrates a foundational event in Jewish history, the day that God gave the law to the Jewish people. In this lesson, we will investigate God’s role in the halachic (legal) process after the giving of the Torah. To begin, …

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“Shabbat Shalom” – Shavuot 5780

Shabbat Shalom: Shavuot By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin  Efrat, Israel – The Scroll of Ruth contains one of the most idyllic stories in the Bible, a tale of “autumnal love” between a widow (Ruth) and a widower (Boaz), within the backdrop of diaspora inter-marriage, conversion to Judaism, and the agricultural life in ancient Israel.  The Rabbinic Sages …

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24-hour learnathon in honor of Rabbi Riskin

24-hour learnathon in honor of Rabbi Riskin Ohr Torah Stone (OTS) – the network of educational and social institutions Riskin founded in 1983 – is hosting the learnathon. By JERUSALEM POST STAFF | May 21, 2020 A 24-hour non-stop global Torah online learning session will take place ahead of Shavuot next week in honor of …

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What We Really Received at Sinai

Rabbi Shlomo Vilk

What we really received at Sinai Rabbi Shlomo Vilk, Rosh Yeshiva of the Robert M. Beren Machanaim Hesder Yeshiva 7 June, 2019 Nobody knows precisely what was uttered at Sinai; our Sages and scholars over the generations have offered numerous hypotheses: beginning with the notion that condenses the revelation to the single Hebrew letter of …

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Ruth and the Hollywood Ending

Rabbanit Chamutal Shoval

Ruth and the Hollywood Ending The story of Ruth, as is, does not furnish the stuff for romantic Hollywood films, teaching instead about a building an enduring relationship. Rabbanit Chamutal Shoval is a fellow at the Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership at Midreshet Lindenbaum, a division of the Ohr Torah Stone network. Typical …

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The chain of Torah transmission and its implications today

Rabbanit Tzivia Kusminsky

The Chain of Torah transmission and its implications today Tzivia Kusminsky, Director of Latin America and Poland for the OTS Amiel BaKehila program The festival of Shavuot has several names, among them “The feast of the receipt of the Torah”, given that on that day, after the exodus from Egypt, Israel received this important compendium of …

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