We are exactly one week away from זמן מתן תורתנו, the time of the giving of our Torah.
This fact that the Torah was given on Shavuos is strangely omitted from the Torah.
The expression מתן תורה, though, is mystically embedded in a verse that appears in this week’s portion which always falls out prior to Shavuos.
After listing the outstanding tribal leaders by name the verse reiterates, ויקח משה ואהרן את האנשים האלה אשר נקבו בשמות, Moshe and Aharon took these men who had been designated by [their] names. The letters of the last eight words in this verse spell out in reverse מתן תורה.
Certainly, these great men towered in their stature of Torah. But why the mention of its ‘giving’ per se?
What was the purpose of their being designated by names? Were they seeking fame?
The Netziv directs us to a verse in Re’eh.
There the Torah records the Moadim and their respective mitzvos uniquely associated with them.
You shall count seven weeks... from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop... Then you shall observe the festival of Shavuos... You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall observe and perform these decrees...
He asks, that this last directive seems not to have any subject, what is it exactly one is being called on to observe and perform? There is no mitzva to be observed that is specific to Shavuos!
One could observe the eating of matzah or perform the duty to sit in a sukkah, but what is there to point to in ‘observing’ Shavuos?
The Netziv goes on to assert that the ‘time of the giving of our Torah’, refers not to a moment in the distant past that we commemorate, but rather a ‘constant’ of time that intensifies its reality of the full complement of Torah that is gifted to us, just as it was 3,332 thousand years ago. It is thus, that affect that compels us one privy to this notion, to observe and perform these decrees - its entirety.
Here, the Netziv asserts, is a direct allusion of Shavuos as the day of the giving of Torah.
The verse that extols the greatness of the tribal leaders, is not promoting their fame, but rather stating that these exceptional sages had defined themselves by living in the reality of the constant transmission of Torah with all its impact, that one may access and express their very essence by it.
As we get closer to our goal, may we each find self-expression by utilizing this remarkable gift of Torah, to develop our unique qualities in promoting His honor.
צבי יהודה טייכמאן