|Shavuot and the better world
By: Rabbi Carlos Tapiero,
MWU Deputy - Director General & Director of Education
Shavuot and the better world
Shavuot celebrates that transcendent moment when we received the Torah,
investing us with our ultimate meaning as a People. In a moving image
unfolded in the Written Torah,
and enlarged in the Oral Torah,
God himself delivered His Word to the Children of Israel, in terms
understandable to all humankind. He, the Perfect Infinity, – in an act
of true love – gives us a Code that forever removes the existential
questions of "what is good" and "what is bad," establishing the
fundamental of Western Ethics.
Jewish mystical literature,
based on the written Torah, emphasizes that the souls of all Jews in all
ages received the Torah, meaning: the act of divine transmission is
perennial in the eternal chain of Jewish Generations. Not only the
600,000 heads of households (around 3,000,000 people) who left Egypt,
but all members of the Jewish people, in all times, heard the "Anochi
A' Elo-hecha..." - "I am A' your God...", the 10 Commandments, the
expression of Ultimate Morality. In some part of our being, we all carry
the emotion of Ma'amad Har Sinai, of being in the presence of the
Divinity at Mount Sinai. The message of the Written and Oral Torah, and
its further development, is that the Torah is the heritage of our
People, given to all equally and with equal opportunities, challenges
view of the Torah as a code for all people, in turn, transcends even the
act of its delivery; it is intrinsic to its essence. The Torah was given
to the People because it is intended for all our people. Our Sages
employed beautiful imagery:
bar Bar Chanah said: Why were the words of the Torah compared with fire?
the Prophet says:] 'Is not my word like fire?'
is to show that just as fire does not burn alone,
the words of the Torah are not sustainable in solitude."
Rabah bar Bar Chanah indicates a central aspect of the essence of the
Torah and the act of its transmission: unlike other knowledge, which
does not require concrete application in everyday life, Torah is
applicable, knowledge applied to interdependency between every person
and other people, both the sculptor and artist of crafting good human
sensibilities and relations between people.
is not so, if it has no specific application in our daily lives, Torah
becomes irrelevant, vanishes. Torah is a guide to personal and
social action, comes alive in our lives when we translate it into our
gestures and words, in our physical actions, in our association with
others. Torah cannot exist in the loneliness of a Robinson Crusoe,
disconnected and alienated from others. God gave us Torah in order to
build through its lessons, just, generous, supportive and empathic human
societies, sensitive to the suffering of others and willing to heal
gave His Word to all and for all, expecting us to always build the
better world to which we must aspire, and for which we must strive,
affirming our partnership with Him in the task of improving what we can.
God inspire us to receive the Torah in our lives today, to again
experience the excitement we felt in our souls more than 3300 years ago
it was delivered to us at Ma'amad Har Sinai.
we incorporate Torah as a guide for our actions and our behavior and our
deepest beliefs, to make a better out of this world,
brotherly love, based on true listening and genuine dialogue.
Chag Shavuot Sameach!!!
CARLOS A. TAPIERO
Director-General & Director of Education
"…On the third day the Lord will descend Mount Sinai in the sight
of all the people" - Shemot (Exodus) XIX, 11.
Midrash Exodus Rabbah 28:6. The Midrash cites Deuteronomy 29:13:
“...and with whoever is not here today” and explains that
this phrase refers to the souls of all future generations, all
present at Mount Sinai, including the souls of all our Prophets
and Sages. In regard to all the souls of future generations who
were present at Mount Sinai, the Midrash states: "Each one
received his portion".