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Shavuot:  All of Israel Stood at Sinai

05/31/2022 10:23:43 AM


Rabbi Moshe Rudin


                                                                                                Matan Torah - The Giving of the Torah |

That's right.  You've been there.  I've been there.  

That's the great secret, isn't it?  Almost all of us have had what the Rambam (Maimonides) calls a "lightning flash moment" where for a fleeting second you get an intimation that we live in the presence of a great, unknowable mystery and that somehow, within that great unknowable mystery there is a regard- a response, a Presence.  And then the moment passes and we wonder if it ever really happened.  Maybe it was after staying up all night when you were twenty and saw the sun rise.  Maybe it was when you held that baby for the first time.  Maybe it was when you were going through the worst thing that ever happened to you.  Maybe it was something that you can't quite recall the circumstances but yes, somehow, somewhere, it happened.  Didn't it?

Yes, it did, the Torah assures us.  And what's more, it's always happening whether you are aware of it or not.  And what's more, that moment where the world fills with light, but not the light of the sun or moon, not the light of a candle or all of the sophisticated versions of candles we have made, is the reason why the heaven and earth were created.  

That Sinai moment, where all life comes together to suddenly realize and rejoice in the One Source of life, love, compassion is perpetuated in the sacred space of the Tabernacle, the Temple, the Land of Israel and in every Jewish soul.  It is our task not to live on Mount Sinai with its Revelation in thunder and lightning, in smoke and darkness, but to live here in awareness that that light is right here with us and, when we get it right finally, that light will be revealed.  In Torah shorthand, we are here to make the world worthy of G-d's Presence.  

And on Shavuot, we enter into dialogue: We speak, G-d answers.  G-d speaks, we answer.  And that speech, again, in Torah shorthand, goes like this:

G-d (to Israel): Yes?

Israel (to G-d): YES!!! 

Israel (to G-d): YES?

G-d:  YES!!! 

So we have two choices.  We can analyze what we believe G-d to be or not to be or whether we believe or don't believe.  Or, we can answer.  Shavuot is the memory,  the re-enactment and the continued re-statement of that answer.  What is your answer?  That response determines your life ahead and, in a very real sense, the fate of the Jewish people and of the world.  Chag Sameach! 



Mon, July 15 2024 9 Tammuz 5784