By Rabbi Yosef Shemtov

Shavout is the celebration of receiving the Torah at Har Sinai on 6 of Sivan which was 50 days after the Exodus from Egypt.

It is very interesting to note that the Almighty told Moshe to ask the people if they were willing to accept the Torah. And of course all Benei Israel said, “Naaseh v’Nishma,” meaning we are ready to do anything we are commanded and we will learn and appreciate the Torah. Upon that, Moshe returned to Hashem and said “Your nation is ready to receive Torah.” Then Hashem told Moshe that they should purify themselves and be ready for this magnificent day of receiving the Torah.
Finally the 6 of Sivan came, and all Benei Israel were excited. Then the pasuk says they stood under the mountain. Gemara asks: Why does it say they stood under? Shouldn’t it say they stood around the mountain? Gemara answers that the Almighty picked up the mountain and put it over their heads and said, “If you accept the Torah I will remove the mountain and if you don’t want to receive Torah, you will die there and that would be the end of this world.

People were terrified and did accept the Torah and Hashem gave them the 10 commandments.
The big question is if beni Israel already accepted the Torah willingly, why did Hashem put the mountain on top of them and forced them to accept it?

Marral explains that Hashem was giving them a message: It is great that you are accepting the Torah willingly and with desire, but you should know the world without Torah will cease to exist. Torah is like oxygen. Without that we die no matter how much we love oxygen.

Shavout is a time to remind ourselves that all the blessings of the world are because of the Torah and Torah study. Shavuot is time to renew our commitment to torah and mitsvot and with that to have merit for all blessings of Torah.

On behalf of the Yachad rabbis, I would like to wish you a happy and meaningful Chag.