Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yom Hameyuchas / Shloshet Yemei Hagbala

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

Although it doesn't appear too prominently on any calendar, yesterday, the 2nd of Sivan was actually a distinctive, somewhat festive day, known as "yom hameyuchas", the day of distinction. One will notice that this day is positioned between Rosh Chodesh Sivan which precedes it and the "shloshet yemei hagbala", the three days which Moshe commanded the Jewish people to use in order to prepare themselves for receiving the Torah, which follow it.[1] The Talmud teaches us that any day which is sandwiched between festive days is to be designated as a festive day, as well.[2]

There are a number of explanations offered as to what the distinctiveness or festivity of yom hameyuchas truly is.

Click here to read more
There are a number of explanations offered as to what the distinctiveness or festivity of yom hameyuchas truly is. According to one interpretation, yom hameyuchas has absolutely nothing special about it at all! According to this approach, the 2nd day of Sivan was awarded its fancy title merely in order that it not feel disgraced. There was some concern that if the Jewish people were to commemorate the days before it along with the days after it, the 2nd of Sivan would feel second class or insulted. This is similar to the custom of covering the challot on Shabbat lest they feel embarrassed at having been made secondary in order to allow for the blessing over the wine to be recited first. This teaches us how important it is to show sensitivity not only to the feelings of others, but also to inanimate objects.

Another explanation for the yom hameyuchas has it that it was on that day that God informed the Jewish people that they would become "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation".[3] It is also suggested that the famous response of "naaseh v'nishma" which the Jewish people replied when Moshe brought word that God was about to give them the Torah, occurred on the 2nd of Sivan as well.[4] This momentous and unanimous display of loyalty was deemed worthy to be recorded as a distinctive day for eternity, and was therefore designated as yom hameyuchas.

Finally, it is also suggested that the name yom hameyuchas was intended to remind everyone each year prior to Shavuot that it doesn't matter what one's "yichus" ("pedigree" or "family prestige") is or from where or who one descends from, but rather, it is through dedication to Torah study and the observance of mitzvot that one creates one's own yichus. It is also noted that yom hameyuchas always falls out on the same day of the week as Yom Kippur.[5]

Today is day one of the shloshet yemei hagbala which continue until the arrival of Shavuot. It is said that the exalted levels of purity which the Jewish people achieved at the time of giving of the Torah returns during the shloshet yemei hagbala and is available to all who make the effort to sanctify themselves in honor of Shavuot.[6] It is also said that the Avot, the Forefathers awaken on the second day of the shloshet yemei hagbala to beseech God for the needs of the Jewish people. As such, that day is considered an especially auspicious day for prayer.[7] Whether you live in Israel or the Diaspora – remember to prepare the Eruv Tavshilin on Thursday!


[1] Shabbat 86b
[2] Taanit 18a
[3] Shemot 19:6
[4] Shemot 19:6-8
[5] Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 494:7, Minhag Yisrael Torah 494:1
[6] Rabbi Yosef Yaavetz, cited in Davar B'ito Sivan 3 5769
[7] Rabbi Mendel Ungar cited in Davar B'ito 4 Sivan 5769

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More