There’s something special about studying on Shavuot night

Katie Feld

Josh Meisel, 11th Grade

Everyone knows about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover, but many don’t know about the true beauty of Shavuot. As we all know, at the start of Shavuot, it is the custom of many to stay up and learn Torah. We wonder why we do this. The midrash goes that B’nai Yisrael woke up late on the day of matan Torah (the giving of the Torah). How crazy is that?! So we stay up learning and are ready to re-accept the Torah that day as early as possible, just as the sun comes up.

As wonderful as this idea is, let us look deeper into the depths of the holiday.

Pesach and Shavuot are holidays that walk hand in hand. They represent the start of our geulah — our redemption. On Pesach, we come together with our families and remember and rejoice in the yetzia (departure) from Mitzrayim with stories, food and drink. This seems to be more on the physical side. However, being the spiritual people that we are, there is a need for a metaphysical aspect.

Coming out of Egypt, it is said that we had reached the lowest (49th) level of impurity after serving as slaves for so many years. At the very point at which we leave Egypt, we began climbing the ladder to our spiritual geulah. Upon receiving the Torah at Har Sinai, we were at the highest level of spirituality. Imagine what that must be like! This is what the holiday is all about – reaching that ultimate connection with spirituality,having accepted the Torah.

So wait! How does this connect to learning all night? I’d like to use some personal experiences to help explain. Whenever I learn Torah, I feel elevated and connected to God. The words of discussing and reciting become so holy, they go straight up and can influence many people. This night is about reaching that spiritual level as a people. We devote a whole night to learning Torah to try and attain that awesome level of holiness that we shared together as a nation many years ago.

I advise everyone to just even learn the slightest bit of Torah on Shavuot night. I’ve become amazed over the years from my personal experience of the impact that the smallest amount of Torah can have on a person on this night. Whether it’s from reviewing for Judaic classes, Rambam, Gemara or Religious Zionism, it makes the difference. It builds the connection we’ve been craving for so long. So pick up a Sefer and go learn a little.

May it be the will of Hashem that we should stay up learning all night next year, with the coming of Mashiach! Have a happy and spiritual Shavuot.