Divrei HaRav

Shavuos / שבועות

Shavuos / שבועות

The seforim write that the Aseres Hadibros contains 620 letters. 613 correspond to the 613 mitzvos and the extra seven represent the seven mitzvos d’robonon. The 613 end before the two words “asher l’reeicha”, “which is to your friend”. The Chasam Sofer finds a unique hint here to the words of the Chovos Halivavos. He writes that the obligations of the limbs are limited – they correspond to the number 613. The obligations of the heart increase with the expansion of the person’s comprehension of his Creator. Since in medrash Hashem is referred to as “your friend”, then the number 613 ends before one begins focusing on the obligations of the heart, your friend.

The custom is to remain awake the night of Shavuos, immersed in learning Torah. A reason given is the fact that the Bnei Yisroel had to be awakened to give them the Torah. The question is obvious, how could they have allowed themselves to fall asleep? The answer could be that they put great effort in the preparation to receive the Torah and perhaps they felt fulfilled in their purpose and complete in their preparation. The lesson to be learned is that there is really no end to ones developing readiness for spiritual growth. (Darkei Hashlemos)

Although a person may be on a much higher spiritual level than another person, the Torah defines the counting of each individual according to age, not spiritual development. This equality in the eyes of Hashem is a boost to each person, that he has qualities on level with the greatest and therefore he has what to strive for. This is why the parsha of Bamidbar precedes the receiving of the Torah (and perhaps why Arachim in Bechukosai precedes Bamidbar). This is to show the true value of each and every Jew. (Darash Moshe)

We find the efforts of Arpah in helping Naomi to be commendable. She tries accompanying her back to Eretz Yisroel and Naomi thanks her genuinely for all her help. It would seem that she is a woman with virtues. However, after she is convinced to return and sees that the future with Naomi would bear no fruit for her, the Chazal tell us she fell far and fast into a very degenerate level of existence. How could this be? The answer is that the desire of man is to be on a high level and if this doesn’t happen, man cannot comprehend, or come to grips with, a secondary position. Instead, he falls and eventually assumes a totally different attitude. Also of note is the persistence of Arpah in the beginning - why? The answer could be found in the statement of Rus that she would not forsake Naomi and “your G-d is my G-d.” Arpah, perhaps, saw in Naomi a noble and gracious person who could be a role model, but was easily dissuaded to join her. Rus, on the other hand, possessed a different agenda. She respected Naomi, for she saw in her the attributes of a true servant of Hashem and therefore, although Naomi said, “she had no other children whom Rus or Arpah could marry, Rus saw the entire Jewish people as her new family.

Boaz told Rus “Hashem should repay you for your work and your wages should be complete for that which you came under the wings of Hashem”. Now what are these two statements of payment? The Ksav Sofer points out that although there is no reward in this world for mitzvos, the extra effort invested in doing the mitzvah is paid for even in this world. Therefore, Boaz meant, you came, you traveled, you put extra effort into your conversion and for this you will receive reward, even in this world. The full reward, however, will be in Olam Haba. We would add, one does not know the true reward for mitzvos. The reason for this is because Hashem calculates into the formula all the effort invested and resistance one encounters in the performance of a mitzvah. This is what Boaz said - although you will receive reward for effort, this will not detract from the mitzvah being considered on a greater level in the world to come.

Chazal trace the name of Rus to two words, which mean he satisfied (G-d) with song. This is a reference to Dovid’s tehillim. The Chasam Sofer explains. The Chazal were puzzled by the fact that the purpose of this Megila was to strengthen the lineage of Dovid Hamelech and yet it is called Megilas Rus. Therefore they traced Dovid’s name in the word Rus. In addition, the fact that Rus abandoned her home and people to find a new refuge with G-d, was the opposite of Elimelech who left the hunger of Eretz Yisroel to find a home in a strange land. So it was with Dovid, that even in the most difficult situations he remained a faithful servant, and as the many chapters of tehillim indicate, he sang songs of praise even in these trying and oppressive situations in his life.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis