Only One Day?

Question

Dear Rabbi, Why is Shavuot only one day (two in the Diaspora) as opposed to Passover and Succot? Isn’t it a very inportant celebration of giving us the Torah? Thanks

, 15 years

Answers

  1. Two explanations I find especially fascinating. One, offered by the Ramban, is that Shavuot is actually the last (and eighth) day of the Pesach holiday. How so? Pesach, which represents physical freedom, is not sufficient. It must be coupled with spiritual goals and ideals represented by the Giving of the Torah on Shavuot.

    An idea from the Maharal of Prague helps understand this further. He writes that the number seven represents the physical world with a natural cycle of physicality and spirituality combined together. The number eight, on the other hand, represents pure spirituality. Seven is the number of the days of Pesach, the physical leaving from Egypt, but the true culmination of that exodus was when the Jewish People stood at Sinai and received the Torah from God. In a sense this means that Shavuot is not really just one day. Rather, it is the completion of the cycle that began at Pesach.

    There is another explanation that is also thought-provoking. Every single day is really supposed to have it in the ingredient of the Torah being given anew to each individual Jew. Therefore, celebrating Shavuot for one day signifies and reminds us of this “every single day” importance.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team