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ב"ה

The Biggest Gift

Friday, 14 May, 2021 - 6:23 am

What’s the biggest gift you’ve ever received from your parents or your spouse?

Was it a new car? A piece of jewelry? Watching the kids for a week so you can go on vacation? The knowledge they imparted to you?

At Shavuot, we consider the biggest gift the Jewish people have ever received. 3333 years ago, the Jewish people stood at Sinai and received the Torah. This historic event changed the world forever. The wisdom of the Torah has permeated the entire world. Fast forward three millennia and the world has slowly adopted many of its values. It’s the most widely read book on earth.

And, it has helped our people navigate the triumphs and challenges of our distinct history.

Certainly, Shavuot is a day to celebrate. It’s a day to cherish the unbelievable gift that G-d has bequeathed to us. And, it’s a time to recommit to the timeless principles of Torah.

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As we look at the state of our people, we might wonder, “Where has the love gone?” True, G-d gifted us the Torah. But, that was over three thousand years ago! Today, rockets are landing in the Jewish homeland. Where are the gifts from G-d today?

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The Talmud comments on the opening word of the Ten Commandments, Anochi (“I”, as in “I am the L-rd your G-d), and explains it as an acronym: Ana Nafshi Ketovit Yehovit. This is taken as a declaration from G-d that, “I Myself wrote these words and gave them to you.”

However, when reading the words more carefully, we discover that what it really says is, “I wrote down My very Soul and gave it to you.” G-d is declaring that, in delivering the Torah to the Jewish people, He is delivering Himself to the Jewish people. He invested Himself fully into the Torah – in order to gift Himself to us.

When we study Torah, we aren’t merely studying G-d’s wisdom and ideas. We are, in essence, studying G-d Himself.

So, while the Torah stands out as the greatest gift that human beings have ever received – that’s only part of the story. The greatest gift that G-d has given us is Himself. Through the Torah we have an opportunity for a relationship with our infinite Creator.

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Similarly, in a marriage and other relationships, the greatest gift we receive is not a gadget or compliment. The relationship itself is the greatest gift possible.

As we look at the challenges our people face today – in its own land – we are reminded that Hashem is always with us. At Sinai we entered a covenant. We pledged loyalty to one another. Hashem promised never to forsake His people. And, we promised to uphold His Torah.

Behold the Guardian of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

May we see it in a revealed way, with peace and security in Israel and beyond.

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