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What is the difference between Shavuos and Simchas Torah if they are both fundamentally celebrations of the Torah?

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I once heard a drash around the idea that matan torah was the engagement party and Simchat Torah is the wedding celebration. Don't remember sources, though. –  Monica Cellio Mar 29 '12 at 19:31
    
They're both fundamentally agricultural holidays. The Torah aspect (especially by Simchat Torah) seems to be a secondary concern. –  Double AA May 24 '12 at 6:08
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Another angle, given in various places in Chassidus, and developed further in one of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's talks (Likkutei Sichos, vol. 14, pp. 156ff - English adaptation on chabad.org) is that Simchas Torah specifically commemorates the giving of the second Tablets on Yom Kippur, and so we celebrate it at the end of that season of holidays.

In this talk, too, the Rebbe points out two other related differences:

  1. Shavuos commemorates how G-d gave us the Torah (as an "arousal from above"), while Simchas Torah focuses more on our own efforts in Torah study (an "arousal from below"). (This of course also relates to the idea that Yahu mentioned in his answer, and in particular, to item 3.)

  2. At the original Giving of the Torah on Shavuos, we were tzaddikim. By contrast, on Simchas Torah we celebrate how we became baalei teshuvah.

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I am going to make a question out of it. –  SimchasTorah Apr 20 '10 at 2:30
    
The Golden Calf was forty days after the Giving of the Torah, no? So yes, on Shavuos - and for a while afterwards - we were complete tzaddikim (see Shabbos 146a: "פסקה זוהמתן"). –  Alex Apr 20 '10 at 2:53
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The difference essentially is:

Simchas Torah is a siyum-celebration of the tzibbur's reading of Torah Shebiksav.

Shavuos is a celebration of Hashem giving us the Torah and of the Maamad of Har Sinai, the miracles we experienced as a Tzibbur at Mt. Sinai.

The are also connections between the two, so you are probably on to something:

  1. They are both celebrated on a hag called "Atzeres".

  2. They both occur after cycles of seven. (Simchas Torah in Eretz Yisrael is actually on Shemini Atzeres and Shavuos is after the complete counting of the omer cycle of 7 times 7).

  3. Shavuos occurs at the beginning of the human food harvest (wheat) and Simchas Torah occurs at the end of the entire harvest process.

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Very interesting is that A Reb Tzadok a Mahral or Pachad Yitzchak? –  SimchasTorah Apr 19 '10 at 22:47
    
And just a little nitpick we got the Torah on Yom Kippur. –  SimchasTorah Apr 19 '10 at 22:57
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The second Luchos (along with Torah shebaal peh - see Shemos Rabbah 46:1), yes. But the original Giving of the Torah was indeed on Shavuos, and "if the Jewish People had not sinned, we would have been given only the five Books of the Torah plus the Book of Yehoshua" (Nedarim 22b). –  Alex Apr 20 '10 at 0:26
    
YS, the problem that I have with recalling where I saw these connections is that I didn't see them anywhere. I noticed these because you asked your question. You are right that the style of my thinking probably is along the lines of those Gedolei Mahshavah that you mentioned due to my background. And yes, as Alex replied to you Matan Torah is Shavuos. The receiving of the Second Luhos was on Yom HaKippurim. –  Yahu Apr 20 '10 at 0:42
    
Yahu I understand the problem myself I can never remember where I saw things.But back to my Nitpick I think this is also A chazal we are celebrating the equivalent of someone breaking an engagement and then in the end getting married and celebrating the original planned wedding day which is just wrong. –  SimchasTorah Apr 20 '10 at 2:28
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An answer from here although it is a Parable more than an answer. http://www.aish.com/h/su/saast/48967086.html

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