The Power of Shavuot

Rabbi Chanoch Galperin

East London Community


Though I walk through a valley of the shadow of death, I fear no harm, for You are with me.

(Psalms 23:4)

גַּם כִּי אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת לֹא אִירָא רָע כִּי אַתָּה עִמָּדִי.

(תהילים כג:ד)


Every chag shines a special אור, ‘light’, for that particular chag.


It gives us the power to be able to take the spirit of that chag through the year, especially Chag HaShavuot, time of the giving of the Torah, we take it with us the whole year.


Shavuot is also the yahrzeit of Dovid Hamelech1 and the Baal Shem Tov. King David gave us so much strength, as he says in Tehillim,2


גַּם כִּי אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת לֹא אִירָא רָע כִּי אַתָּה עִמָּדִי “

Though I walk through a valley of the shadow of death, I fear no harm, for You are with me.”


The Baal Shem Tov explains that everything is by Divine Providence, that even a leaf that falls from one place to another, although we do not understand why, it is the will of Hashem.3


In connection with the situation in the world at present, all the סגולות (segulot)4 are very, very important. I also want to draw attention to the Talmud of which I will only write short quotes, but which one should look up to see the whole matter. It is very revealing.

Talmud, Baba Kamma 60a:


אר"ש בר נחמני א"ר יונתן אין פורענות באה לעולם אלא בזמן שהרשעים בעולם ואינה מתחלת אלא מן הצדיקים תחלה שנאמר כי תצא אש ומצאה קוצים אימתי אש יוצאה בזמן שקוצים מצוין לה בכי רב יוסף כולי האי נמי לאין דומין


“Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: Calamity befalls the world only when wicked people are in the world, but the calamity begins only with the righteous first, as it is stated in the verse: ‘If a fire breaks out, and catches in thorns, so that a stack of grain, or standing grain, or the field, is consumed’.5 When does the fire, ie, calamity, emerge? At a time when the thorns, ie, the wicked, are found with it.”


“Rav Yosef cried and said: ‘Are even all these righteous people compared to nothing when calamity strikes?’”


The Gemora writes that trouble comes to the world because of the thorns, reshoim.

Rav Yosef cried. He did not understand why it should be that trouble would affect the righteous first.


We have to try our best to burn the thorns and let everyone do whatever they can to let people know there is a Master of this world and to Him we have to obey יש בעל הבית לבירה זו 6.


It is written in Nishmas,7 “all who stand erect shall prostrate themselves before You” וכל קומה לפניך תשתחוה.

  1. Jerusalem Talmud, Beitza 2:4; Jerusalem Talmud, Chagigah 2:3

  2. Psalms 23:4

  3. Keter Shem Tov, additions to 79, 182, 183

  4. "remedy" or "protection"

  5. Exodus 22:5

  6. Midrash, Bereishit Rabbah 39:1

  7. A special prayer we say on Shabbat/Yom Tov morning and Seder night

©2019 by The Office of The Chief Rabbi