Shavuot-שבועות: Celebrating Humanity
May 26, 2020
This Thursday eve, May 28th thru Saturday, May 30th, Jews will be celebrating Shavuot-שבועות. In Israel it is celebrated this Friday. This is the holiday when the Torah, the Constitution of the Jewish People, was revealed to our ancestors on Mt. Sinai 3,300 years ago. It set the theme of humanity: “Love thy neighbor as thyself, I am G-d.”
Leviticus 19, v. 18.
By the way, the number “18” in Hebrew represents the numerical equation of חי-life.
As humanity grapples with the global pandemic, the world’s medical experts are racing to find the cure to control the spread of this dreadful disease. It is during these tragic times that we experience the best of humanity: neighbor helping neighbor; nations helping other nations. Individuals from all walks of life and occupations risked and are continuing risking their lives to support and supply the needs of people. Thus we celebrate the goodness of humanity.
The Torah teaches us that each human being has the potential of doing something useful to help another. The caveat: do not allow your selfishness and arrogance to overcome your humanity. Whatever amount of time G-d blesses you with life, do it with dignity and caring for your family and other people who are in need.
The Hebrew word for “friend” is “חבר-CHAVER.” It means being connected and supportive of each other. The Hebrew word for uniform clothing is “מדים-measurement and ethics, meaning that we share the common values of our uniform.
Shavuot is a reminder for each one to be as helpful and supportive as one can be. The methodolgy and teachings are found in our G-d given laws, the Torah. This effort will hopefully lead humanity to a world of Shalom-שלום, its root word being “complete.” Only when one feels satisfactorily complete morally and ethically, he/she truly enjoys a life of Shalom.
“The wealthy person is the one which is happy with what he/she’s got.” Pirkey Avot, ch. 4, 1st paragraph.
Enjoy the Holiday.
Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz
National shomrim Chaplain
Shavuot – The Feast of Weeks
May 26, 2020
On Thursday of this week we will be celebrating the festival of Shavuot which terminates on May30th. On this holiday we recall the giving of the Ten Commandments by G-d to Moses and the Israelites, the culmination of their seven-week journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai, from slavery to the great moment of revelation the journey from the rights to the responsibilities of freedom.This moment in Jewish history, heralded our dual responsibility to have the exclusive privilege, to observe the mitzvoth given to us by G-d so that we should be “a light unto the nations.”
This dual responsibility becomes more prevalent in these days of the coronavirus pandemic.What is Shavuot without being able to gather for praying in our synagogues, or being able to learn together. However, we have to understand that there is nothing more sacred than the protection of life.
Praying for ourselves and for others, help us see that we are not alone. Rather we are linked to a network of love from which divine miracles really flow.
May the Almighty protect all our members and their families together with all first responders. May we all have a safe Shavuot.