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Chag Shavuot Sameach

Shalom Emanuel,

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.

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