Emor and Mother`s Day Dvar Torah

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    Emor 2 – Giving and Receiving:
    מועדי ה’ אשר תקראו אתם מקראי קדש
    Hashem’s appointed festivals which you shall designate as callings of holiness (Vayikra 23:1).

    In Parashas Emor, we are told about the various festivals and holidays in the year. The pasuk has three names for the holiday upon which we received the Torah. In Parashas Re`eh (Devarim 16:10), it is called Chag Shavuos – the Festival of Weeks; in Parashas Mishpatim (Shemos 23:16), it is known as Chag HaKatzir – the Festival of the Harvest; in Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar 28:26), it is referred to as Yom HaBikkurim – the Day of the First Fruits.
    It is interesting to note that in Parashas Emor, where we find the most details about the Yamim Tovim, there is no name assigned to Shavuos. Even more glaring, there is no mention that this is the Yom Tov commemorating the giving of the Torah. In fact, the Torah never refers to Shavuos the way we refer to it in our tefillos, as Zman Matan Toraseinu – the Time of the Giving of our Torah. Why is this?

    I think the best way to explain this is by discussing the “problem” with Mother’s Day. Every year, Ann Landers would reprint a letter around Mother’s Day. It went something like this:
    Dear Ann,
    My son, the prominent attorney, always picks me up on Mother’s Day. We first go to a pricey restaurant and then attend a theatrical performance, with, of course, the best seats in the house. Then he gives me a breathtaking bouquet of long-stemmed roses. This perfect evening ends with a loving kiss before he takes me home.
    And then I don’t see the bum until the next year!

    When we set aside one day in the year for honoring mothers, the florists, restaurants, and greeting card companies make their money, but the mothers lose out. By identifying one day for Mother, we can ignore her the rest of the year. In truth, every day should be Mother’s Day.
    That is the why the Torah does not identify Shavuos with the title Zman Matan Toraseinu. If the Torah would say that this is the time to commemorate the giving of the Torah, we would go all out. We would have Torah parades. We would listen to grand speeches. Then, after this glorious day is over, we would take the Torah and put it away until next year.
    In truth, every day should be the Time of the Giving of our Torah.
    It says in Devarim (26:16), “Hayom hazeh Hashem Elokecha metzavecha laasos es hachukim – This day, Hashem, your G-d, commands you to perform these statutes.” Rashi explains that on each day, the words of the Torah should be new in our eyes, as if we were commanded them that day.

    This could be why Shavuos is called Zman Matan Toraseinu in our tefillos, and not Zman Kabbalas Toraseinu – the Time of the Receiving of our Torah. Although the Torah was given to us on that day, the acceptance did not occur only on that day.
    Every morning, I must reaccept the Torah; my commitment from last week, or even yesterday, will not suffice for today. Every day must be a Zman Kabbalas Toraseinu.

    Echoing this sentiment is a keen observation from the Kli Yakar. Although the Yom Tov of Shavuos is unnamed in Parasas Emor, the Torah tells us that on the day of Shavuos, “Ve’hikravtem minchah chadashah laShem – You shall bring a new meal-offering to Hashem” (Vayikra 23:16). This new offering, explains the Kli Yakar, is a symbol of the day of Matan Torah, because the Torah must be new to every Yid, every day, as if he received it on this day from Har Sinai. We must always make a new commitment, a minchah chadashah, to Hashem and to His Torah.

    We can give another reason for the name Zman Matan Toraseinu, based on a seeming inconsistency in the Gemara (Shabbos 88b). The Gemara quotes Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, who said, “At every word that went forth from the mouth of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, the souls of Bnei Yisrael departed.” However, in the same paragraph, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi also said, “At every word that went forth from the mouth of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, the Bnei Yisrael retreated 12 mil, but the ministering angels led them back.”
    The obvious question is: Did they die, or did they run away? Perhaps both occurred, but to two different groups of people, with the variable being the intensity and depth of their kabbalah .

    The first group was totally receptive to the dvar Hashem and accepted it without reservation. When they allowed the dvar Hashem to enter, their systems were overwhelmed and their souls departed. To those people, Hashem performed techiyas hameisim.

    The second group, on the other hand, had some reservations – even after saying “Naaseh ve’nishma” – and they did not allow the words to penetrate. This group fled in panic.
    Hence, both statements are true, since they did not all have the same intensity of commitment.

    This is another explanation why Shavuos is called Zman Matan Toraseinu and not Zman Kabbalas Toraseinu, for it was the Time of the Giving of our Torah, which was uniform for all, but not the Time of the Receiving of our Torah, which was an individual affair and not equal across the board.



    On a related note, the Congressional resolution leading to the proclamation of Mother’s Day was sponsored in Congress and initiated in the House by Klu Klux Klansman J. Thomas Heflin of Alabama, to (in his own words) protect against the “vile despoilers of our precious white women”. At one time the Congressman had shot and wounded a black man for “insulting” a white woman on a streetcar.

    Reb Eliezer

    The RMA paskens in SA O’CH 146,4 to stand at the leining of the Torah to remember Kabolas Hatorah as if it happened today. אשר אנכי מצוך היום – בכל יום יהי-ה בעינך כחדשים see it as something new every day. We can find simething new in the Torah every day. The Chasam Sofer explains that the chidushim are hidden in the Torah and through a heveanly help one can reveal it. The Hafloah says that a kashye is a siyata dishmaya. He demonstrates this with a mashel, A simple person is given a diamond. He does not see what he can do with it, so he goes to a goldsmith to cover it in gold. He is no expert, so he leaves some holes around. The simple person sees the gold but the clever one sees the diamond. So Hashem provides us with kashye through it we are able to reveal what is hidden in the Torah.

    Reb Eliezer

    With this I explained the comparison of the bitter spring water to the Torah were a bitter tree was thrown into it and it became sweet. A person learns a piece of gemora and he is unable to understand it being completely confused such that it is so bitter that he can’t even ask a kashye. Hashem gives him heavenly help and he is able to ask a kashye which without an answer is also bittter, but it helps him to get an answer and now it becomes sweet.


    Thank you. if you figure out how to contact me by email i can send you a pdf of a pretty nice sefer with many nice verter. and im not at gmail.



    Does anyone know of tshuvos dealing with Mother’s Day in halacha? Chukas akum etc. I looked and couldn’t find.

    Reb Eliezer

    Are you famIliar with the Marik on chukas akum? If there is a reason for it there is no chukas akum. The consideration once might be a reminder for everyday.


    Reb YitzyMotcha: Rav Avigdor Miller zt’l is one of the Gedolei Rabbonim that have addressed Mother’s Day (non) place in Torah Judaism.

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