The emphasis of the holiday of Shavuot, is not only the receiving of the Torah, but there is important emphasis on studying Torah. The Talmud in Masechet Shabbat tells us that when we leave this world, we will be asked two questions. Did we act honestly in business matters, and did we set up definite time periods for the study of Torah.
The obligation to study Torah, which is one of the 613 Mitzvot, is learned from the words, ושיננתם לבניך, “and you shall teach your children.” How can we teach our children if we don’t study ourselves? There is a certain irony in the performance of this Mitzva. For those who immerse themselves in Torah study, they come to realize that this brings the student so much joy and peace of mind. Yet, people have great difficulty in bringing themselves to the point where they put other activities aside, and make Torah study.
If it is true that these benefits of Torah study exists, why wouldn’t everyone be involved in order to achieve this great satisfaction? The answer is that if one wants to open the door to unlock these treasures, it comes with perseverance and hard work. It takes a while to get to the realization that occupying oneself with Torah study, can bring such contentment. The proof of this joy is the reason we are not permitted to study Torah while sitting Shiva, or on the sad day of Tisha B’Av.
Some claim that they have studied, and never felt this joy. They are like someone wishing to go swimming. They get their feet wet, but the water is too cold. One needs to get to the point where he is not only used to the water, but he is happily swimming.
Shavuot is a reminder that we are responsible to take this Mitzva seriously. It is also a reminder of how important and worthwhile it is to study Torah. It adds so much meaning and purpose to our lives. It elevates us and we begin to feel Hashem’s closeness. And how foolish it would be for us to pass up such a joyous and meaningful Mitzva. Chag Shavuot Sameach!