Although the date is never explicitly stated in the Torah, the holiday of
Shavu'os occurs on the 6th (and in the Diaspora, on the 7th) day of the
month of Sivan. The B'nai Yisaschar explains that the astrological sign
the month of Sivan is Gemini, the twins. This sign relates to dual aspects
of the holiday of Shavu'os. We all know that when the nation of Israel
its enslavement in Egypt, it emerged as a nation that would now be free to
serve the only Master, the Master of the World. When Hashem gave the Torah
to the nation of Israel shortly thereafter, unity of purpose, holiness and
love was evident between Hashem and the nation. Those siblings who are
developed and born together - twins - symbolize this unity. Just as a
special unity and bind exists between twins, so too is there this unique
feeling between Hashem and the Nation of Israel.
The special unity experienced and evidenced by the giving of the Torah was
not merely between G-d and His people. It existed amongst the people in
nation of Israel as well. There was harmony and unanimity in purpose. The
feelings of camaraderie were so great that the Torah refers to the
encampment of the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai in the singular, "And he
(Israel) camped there." This unity, as well, is alluded to by the sign of
the month of Sivan, the twins.
There is additional significance to the sign of the month as it relates to
the giving of the Torah. The B'nai Yisaschar quotes a parable. A king was
preparing the wedding canopy for his daughter, and he wanted to display
beauty and splendor of his daughter in a way that truly befit a princess.
One of the king's advisors suggested that she ride upon an elephant. She
would be elevated above the throngs and masses, seated in lofty splendor,
in true royal fashion. Another advisor noted that although the elephant
be tall, it is lacking the dignity and majesty of other animals, and
therefore the beauty of the princess bride would not be fully
He suggested instead that she ride upon a horse, well groomed, muscular,
and dignified. A third advisor chimed in. He observed that while an
elephant may be tall, and a horse may be majestic, neither of these beasts
have the ability to verbally expound on the beauty of the princess nor the
ability to physically demonstrate their respect for her, nor to bring her
the joy befitting a bride with antics and entertainment. He therefore
suggested that she be carried upon the shoulders of men. In that way, her
beauty will be seen and she will be properly honored.
The month of Nissan is the first in the Jewish calendar. Accordingly, the
astrological sign of that month, Aries, the ram, is the highest ranking,
to speak, of the astrological signs. Each astrological sign brings with it
certain attributes and characteristics that are imparted, perhaps in a
metaphysical sense, during the month. The nation of Israel left the land
Egypt in Nissan. However, Hashem did not want to give the Torah in Nissan
as well. Just as the elephant signifies an elevation above, so to does
Aries. Hashem did not want to give the mistaken impression that the
or honor for Torah had to be bolstered or enhanced, which could occur by
having it associated with the "highest" of astrological signs. The Torah
was to be respected in it of itself, and therefore Nissan was not the
choice of month for presentation of this gift.
The sign for the next month, Iyar, is Taurus, the bull. The bull, just as
the horse in the parable, signifies a powerful physical presence and
beauty. We know that during the month of Iyar, the trees begin to blossom
and plants begin to grow after their long wintry slumber. The beauty of
spring is truly one of G-d's wonders. Yet, Hashem did not want to convey
the mistaken impression that somehow the giving of the Torah needed to be
enhanced by beautiful manifestations. He did not want people to think that
the Torah was not worthy of being honored and praised if it stood alone.
Therefore, the Torah was not given in Iyar.
But, as we know, the Torah was given in Sivan. Gemini, the twins,
the people carrying the princess in the analogy. The twins, as people,
the ability to praise, show respect and give honor. The ultimate respect
for the Torah comes from us. We, creatures of flesh and blood, were
with the ability to comprehend and verbally express our thoughts. It is
with these powers that Hashem wanted the praise of the Torah to come. It
from people who can see the Torah, appreciate the Torah for what it is,
express that appreciation, that glory comes to the Torah and G-d.
Therefore, Sivan was the month of choice for the giving of the Torah.
We have the opportunity, come Shavu'os, to recall how our forefathers
accepted the gift of all gifts, the Torah. They accepted it as a unified
nation. They accorded it the honor, respect and dignity due to such an
exalted gift. The offer and acceptance of this gift firmly cemented the
special relationship, the unity of heart and soul so to speak, that
and continues to exist between Hashem and the nation of Israel. Let the
lessons of Gemini not be lost on us.