The Baal Shem Tov taught: Whatever a Jew sees or hears is there to teach him a lesson in spiritual development.
Musings on life, spirituality and current world events.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
The unpopular Jewish holiday
As I'm composing this post, I'm having a fascinating discussion on social media (and expect it will continue later on Chai) about why Shavuos is such an overlooked holiday. Most people seem to think it's because there are no clear rituals associated with it (although, I think cheesecake and blintzes should count for something) and others say it's too short to really grab people's attention.
Either way, it's mighty ironic, considering that Shavuos is when the Torah was given and when we became the Jewish nation. Without those two elements, we'd have no Pesach Seder, Kol Nidrei or breaking of the fast.
I've always said that the most powerful spiritual opportunities are the ones that are most hidden from view. Someone asked me yesterday what the energy of Shavuos is. You know that the energy of Pesach is liberation and breaking boundaries, the energy of Rosh Hashanah is fresh beginnings, of Yom Kippur forgiveness and so on.
Your knee-jerk answer would probably be "study", seeing as it is the day when the Torah was given. But, it's really a lot more than that.
Shavuous is about touching G-d's essence. Shavous is when He ripped open the Heavens and revealed his "I" (I am the L-rd, your G-d) to us. And every year on this date, He opens that portal for us again.
How do you connect to the energy? Simple. You come to Shul on Sunday and hear the Ten Commandments.
You can reach lofty spiritual levels (like on Rosh Hashanah) if you put in enough effort. But the essence is is not something we attain, but a gift that He gives us. If we are there at the right moment, we get the gift.