A Taste of Torah – Shavuos

Written by: Rabbi Avrohom S. Moller

We are about to celebrate Shavuos, the Yom Tov which we refer to as the “Time of the Giving of our Torah.” The timing of this holiday is not coincidental. We celebrate Shavuos in the middle of the spring, the heady time of year when the weather is warming up, the trees are blossoming and all of nature seems to be singing. This time of year necessitates a “mission realignment” since the world around us is beckoning to us in a most alluring way.

The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 2b) tells us that Hashem offered the Torah to the other nations to give them an equal opportunity in gaining the strong antidote to the Yetzer HaRah- evil inclination which the Torah provides. The nations responded by identifying challenges in the Torah to their national vices. One nation said we cannot abide by the commandment not to murder. Another said we cannot refrain from adultery, etc. Although the Jewish people are considered the fiercest of nations (see Beitza 25b), yet they responded with נעשה ונשמע- we are ready to commit. The Jewish nation had the trust that the gift of Torah will not only help them overcome the challenges posed by their moral weaknesses, it will give them the ability to elevate the, mundane and make it holy.

We need to focus on this important aspect of Torah life when we prepare for the wonderful opportunities and pleasures that this part of the year promises to afford us. If we choose to access the Torah’s wisdom, it will make this wonderful time a time of growth and appreciation of Hashem’s wonderful world and help Hashem’s physical world fulfill its purpose the right way.