04.06.2011 2.Siwan, 5771 Nasso; Tag 46 des Omer
We decorate our homes and synagogues with vegetation to express the absolute importance of Torah for Israel and the entire world.
The accepted custom throughout Israel is to decorate the synagogue and home with flowers and plants in honor of the festival of Shavuot. In the words of Rav Yosef Karo (Shulhan Aruch Orah Haim 494/3): “It is our custom to set out plants and flowers in the synagogues and the homes in order to enhance the joy of the Torah.”
It’s fascinating to note the different commentators who interpret the significance of this widespread custom.
The Levush (Rabbi Mordecai ben Avraham Yoffe 1530-1612) and the Birkei Yosef (Rabbi Haim Joseph David, 1724-1807) in their commentaries to this passage in the Shulchan Aruch explain: “‘In order to enhance the joy of the giving of the Torah’ because Mount Sinai sprouted vegetation and blossomed, as we know from the fact that the Israelites were prevented from grazing their sheep near the mountain (Exodus 34:3).”…