We are already past half of Sephirat HaOmer and so it’s important to prepare for Shavuot! As most people already know, Shavuot is the festival of receiving the Torah. It’s one of the easiest to prepare for, but one of the most demanding to fulfill from a Kabbalistic standpoint.
Rabbenu Bachya who was also a great Kabbalist made the distinction between the Festivals based on the verse from the Torah: כִּי קָרוֹב אֵלֶיךָ הַדָּבָר מְאֹד בְּפִיךָ וּבִלְבָבְךָ לַעֲשֹׂתוֹ, which translate as “Because the matter is very close to you in your mouth (this is Pesach) and in your heart (this is Shavuot) to do it (this is Sukkot)”. This is because the main service on Pesach is by using the mouth to tell the Haggadah, on Sukkot is performing many actions like building the Sukkah and waving the 4 species, but on Shavuot, it’s by meditating “in the heart”.
The Tzadik and the crowns
There’s a very strong allusion to the figure of the Tzadik of the generation on Shavuot. As we learned before, these 50 days from Pesach through SephiratHaOmer and Shavuot constitute one Partzuf (spiritual system). During Sephirat HaOmer, we are only rectifying the Sephirot of Chokhmah, Bina, Da’at, Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet and Malkhut… but not Netzach, Hod and Yesof!
About these Sephirot that are lacking, the Arizalteaches that they are rectified with the Tikkun of Shavuot since, according to the Zohar, the 2 Tablets Moshe brought down from Mount Sinai represent Netzach and Hod.
So what about Yesod?
This, we can infer, is represented by Moshe Rabbenu, as the verse in Mishlei (proverbs) 10:25 teaches that “the Tzadik is the Yesod of the world”. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to be attached to the leader of the generation. Sometimes this leader is more evident, sometimes less.
However, if you’ve been paying attention, we didn’t mention the Sephira of Keter, which is the highest light attainable! And that is because it usually comes as a gift from Hashem at the end of every cycle.
In this case, it comes during the…
Tikkun of Shavuot
The Arizal arranged the Tikkun of Shavuot to be the final step in the Partzuf (spiritual system) that is preceded by Pesach and Sephirat HaOmer.
This is the service that is performed by most menand that’s why Shavuot is closely associated with men,who need to bring Torah to the home. This is in contrast to Yom Kippur, when the main Partzuf that’s being elevated is that of the Shekhina (which womenare connected to), likely because they did not participate in the sin of the golden calf.
The Tikkun involves reciting parts of the 24 books of the Tanach (the beginning and end of each), including the full book of Ruth, which takes altogether anywhere between 2 to 3 hours, and then studying Kabbalah the rest of the night. These are the 24 adornments that the Shekhinah (Malkhut) receives on this special night before going to the Chuppah to be married to Zeir Anpin (the 6 Sephirot of Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod and Yesod). During the Tikkun, we are bringing the Netzach, Hod and Yesodwhich were missing to complete the Partzuf.
When the sun is almost up, men must immerse in the Mikvah and this is when we bring in the Sephira of Keter. Then, it’s important to pray the Tefilah of Shacharit as Vatikin (in the earliest possible time) so that the time for the Amidah coincides with sunrise.
The ultimate union between the Shekhina and ZeirAnpin of this entire long system of 50 days is done on the Kedusha of Musaf, when we say the words “Shema Israel, Adonai Elo-heinu, Adonai Echad”. Finally, weneed to make Kiddush in order finalize the Tikkun, and then we are free to do whatever we want (including sleep).
Rabbi Shimon explains in the Zohar that when someone does this Tikkun and does not sleep at all, he receives no less than 70 awesome blessings from Hashem himself, is written up in the Sefer HaZichronot(Book of Remembrance), is called “Servant of the Queen”, and is assured not to die a premature death that year. That is, if they don’t sleep at all until the very end of the Tikkun.
Some women do the Tikkun and there’s no problem with that, though they obviously don’t go to the Mikvah. It’s evident that Hashem see every effort with kind eyes and many women also end up praying Vatikin.
All the prayer that we do is, however, only the internal part of the light. The external part is brought when we eat the festive meal of Shavuot, as in every other Shabbat and Yom Tov. One of the reasons why we milk foods at night is not only because the Torah is associated with milk, but because we want to stay up all night! Therefore, many have the custom to eat meat during the day in order to at least have one meal with meat.
May we all have a wonderful Shavuot and merit all these awesome lights!
This article was written in the zechut of Ariella Rachel bat Sarah. May Hashem help her atttain all her hearts desires speedily!
In the merit of the study of this book - the book of the Zohar - the Jewish People will leave the Exile in a merciful manner. (parashat Naso, 124b)
Studying Kabbalah is a huge source of merit that can bring all sorts of salvation to a person’s life.
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