I am always excited about Shavuot, our Feast of Weeks--or even better, our most
important and recurring Sinai moment, during which we commemorate the giving of
Torah. Shavuot is a time in which we renew our brit (covenant) with God, and with the
inspiration of our matriarch Ruth, we take our Torah-filled kavannah (intentionality) and
turn ourselves outward to other people and the world around us so that we may make
a difference, so that we may better our world.
Because we are a collective force for good, it is of great value for us to engage as a
community in our celebration of Shavuot--to draw in its light together. But as glorious
as it is to embrace the revelation of our Torah in some shared fashion, it is not always
easy to practice Torah in the world. For instance, we are commanded to love of our
neighbors. But not all neighbors are easy to love, especially those who are unkind to us
or persecute us. And yet the mitzvot of Torah, like v’ahavta l’reyakha kamokha, persist
through such tzures (trouble) and continue to call us to action and the improvement of
our lives and life in general--a sacred call that continues to echo thousands and
thousands of years after that seminal moment at Har Sinai.
Thus, in this spirit of engagement and inclusion, I ask that you please join us
throughout this upcoming weekend as we observe Shavuot. Our Adult Choir will
participate Friday night (8pm) with Shavuot-themed music, notably Ruth Seidner’s song
about the Ten Commandments. The following evening, motzi Shabbat, I’ll be teaching
at the Community Tikkun Leil Shavuot at Anshe Emet. (Details on their website HERE.)
In the communal portion, I’ll focus on the 3rd commandment: “Do not take G-d’s name
in vain.” And, in my own session, beginning at 1am, I’ll be teaching the following
limmud (learning session): “Considering the Sinai Covenant and Our Call to Serve.”
We’ll study Torah text and the Book of Ruth, mining their enduring lessons on the
inspiring power of our summer harvest festival. Finally, on Sunday at 10:30am, we will
host Shavuot services at Emanuel, including Yizkor.
Betsy, Cara, and Jared join me in wishing you a chag Shavuot sameach! May the light
of Torah shine its wisdom upon you and your loved ones.
Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good.