This week’s parsha, Bamidbar is always read on the Shabbat prior to the Shavuot holiday, suggesting that this Torah reading teaches us important lessons about the holiday.
Bamidbar begins by telling us that God spoke to Moshe in Midbar Sinai. Rabbi Nachman Cohen in ‘A Time for All Things,’ maintains that the confluence of Bamidbar and Shavuot is to underscore the great significance of the Torah having been given in the desert–no man’s land. Rabbi Cohen points out that the location of the vast expanse of the wilderness is significant for it teaches us that the Torah is not the exclusive property of given individuals. Living a desert existence makes us feel vulnerable. Giving the Torah in the desert also teaches that Torah can only be acquired if a person humbles themselves.