Monday, May 17, 2010

Shavuos - The day the Torah was given....

The dawn of the sixth day of Sivan [the day the Torah was given] found all Jews assembled around Sinai, expectantly trembling with the excitement. A great silence descended upon the earth. All movement ceased and everything stood still. No birds twittered and no ox lowed in the meadow. The waters of the seas lay still, not a wave rose or fell. No leaf fluttered in the wind, for no wind blew. The whole world was breathless with suspense. Bird, beast, and man - all were under the spell of the great event about to take place.

And then in the midst of this unbroken silence, the words of G-d burst forth like thunder:


How these words shook the world to its very foundation! They completely filled the universe and resounded throughout the earth. The smallest child and the oldest of men trembled alike before so much glory and holiness. The mountains trembled and the sea rumbled. Lightning flashed in the heavens and thunder rang out.

And the words G-d had spoken became burning flames that floated in the air. The flame issuing from G-d's words grew brighter and brighter, blinding the people with its brilliance and filling their hearts with terror.
When the Torah looked down and saw them standing nearly lifeless with terror, she turned to G-d and said, "What good will it do to give me to lifeless corpses? I am to be a source of life for them, not the cause of their death! Revive them, O G-d, so that they be able to rejoice with Your great gift."

Then a sweet dew fell upon the people, reviving them and giving them courage and strength to hear the rest of G-d's word. As the people of Israel stood in awe before Mount Sinai, the angels descended from Heaven, bearing G-d's Commandments. As one lovingly presents precious jewels, the angels presented the Commandments to the Jewish people, showing them the beauty of every law.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Shavuot is the holiday on which we relive the experience of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. It is on this holiday that we recommit ourselves to the Torah and its mitzvot.

When describing our ancestors' preparation for this momentous event, the Torah explains that every single Jew was present at the Giving of the Torah. Every Jew was at Mount Sinai. Every Jew wanted to be there. Every Jew had to be there. Including the souls of all Jews destined to be born!
Why? Because the Torah is the inheritance of every Jew. Our Sages tell us, had one Jew been missing, the Torah could not have been given. Each one of us is precious. Each one of us is essential. The Jewish nation is incomplete when even one solitary Jew is not present.

At the Giving of the Torah, every Jew actually heard G-d's "voice" when He told us the Ten Commandments.

In the very first commandment, G-d said, "I am the L-rd, your G-d."

The Hebrew word for "your G-d" -- elokecha -- was used in the singular form. "Elokecha" teaches us that G-d commanded every Jew individually to observe the Ten Commandments and the other mitzvot of the Torah. G-d commanded us personally.

And, of course, if G-d thus commanded us, he also gave us the ability and strength to fulfill our obligations.

Just as the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai was experienced by every Jew without exception, the revelation in the Messianic Era will also be experienced by every Jew, without exception. Every Jew alive today and every Jew who ever lived, will experience the peace, prosperity, and Divine knowledge of the Messianic Era.

For the Messianic Era, like the Torah, is the inheritance of every single Jew.