My late relative, Rav Avrohom Genechovsky, zt”l, shared with me a wonderful insight that has relevant applicability to Shavuot. He quoted the Gemara in Brachot that says, “Afilu sichat chulin shel talmidei chachamim tzrichim limud, even from the ordinary talk of talmidei chachamim one can learn.” He gave a drash on the Gemara to say: what is the ordinary talk of talmidei chachamim? Tzrichim “lilmod” (from the word limud): one must learn.
He said that just like in other trades one must stay current and up to date in their knowledge of the subjects, so to with learning, one must always be learning to be current.
My cousin, Rabbi Yakov Nagen (Genack), wrote in his sefer “Awaking to a New Day” another wonderful insight relating to Shavuot by asking the quintessential question that Matan Torah in essence happens every day, as the Zohar says the Torah is given anew every day. What then is special about Shavuot? My cousin answered that on Shavuot the world was silent at the giving of the Torah. This silence is what is being commemorated, in essence a chance to meditate with the Torah and make it your own.
With both of these insights we can approach Shavuot by remaining current in our learning and also using the silence to reconnect with the Torah and conceive our own chiddushim.
By Steven Genack
Steven Genack is the author of the upcoming book “Articles, Anecdotes & Insights,” Genack/Genechovsky Torah from Gefen Press.