Menachem Bluming Muses: What is Shavuot?

The holiday of Shavuot celebrates the day on which the Torah was given on Mt Sinai. Now that sounds very important… and yet in the Talmud the holiday is exclusively called Atzeret which means “stop and linger”. The stop and linger holiday?! What could that mean?

Stay another day is a chant we hear from our children when a magical, wonderful vacation comes to an end. We don’t want to leave, they exclaim.

This is so beautiful; we want to stay another day.

We all have that experience when a wonderful vacation comes to an end. It might be a skiing trip to the Alps, a cruise on the Riviera, or a resort in the Caribbean, no matter how enchanting and delightful the holiday might be, the last day eventually arrives. We all feel the emotional tug that pulls at our heartstrings to stay just another day or even an hour. Alas, the return flights have been booked, the kids must return to school, and our work back home is piling up. We entertain the romantic notion of staying but give in to the burgeoning pull of reality.

Nevertheless, occasionally, we give in to this romantic notion and make new arrangements. Imagine the thrill on your children’s faces when you inform then that mom and dad decided to rearrange everything and stay another day.

We all know that we can only stave off reality for so long and that to stay another day will cost us dearly, but the thrill of letting it all fade and holding on to the magic for just another day, is too powerful to ignore.

So, we put everything on pause and stay another day.

G-d cherishes his relationship with us. From Passover until Shavuot we diligently counted each day awaiting excitedly the receiving of the Torah and that day has arrived! G-d says, give me one more day!” I love that closeness that we have enjoyed together over these weeks. Those few moments of focused connection.  Atzeret- stop and linger with me let us celebrate our unique relationship that has been through rocky and joyous times and has persevered against all odds now more than 3330 years!

Chag Sameach!

Menachem (Mendel) Bluming, Potomac, Maryland and Rabbi Gurkow

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