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

  • 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. Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 19:31
  • They're both fundamentally agricultural holidays. The Torah aspect (especially by Simchat Torah) seems to be a secondary concern.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 24, 2012 at 6:08
  • I imagine that you assume that both of these are Divine holidays and seek to appreciate His wisdom in giving us these two days. In reality, although Shavuos is of course as real as a Jewish holiday can get, the holiday of simchas Torah evolved in the days of the Geonim and Rishonim.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 3:20

3 Answers 3


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.

  • I am going to make a question out of it. Commented Apr 20, 2010 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
    Commented Apr 20, 2010 at 2:53

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.

  • 1
    Very interesting is that A Reb Tzadok a Mahral or Pachad Yitzchak? Commented Apr 19, 2010 at 22:47
  • And just a little nitpick we got the Torah on Yom Kippur. Commented Apr 19, 2010 at 22:57
  • 1
    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
    Commented Apr 20, 2010 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
    Commented Apr 20, 2010 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. Commented Apr 20, 2010 at 2:28

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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