This is my second-to-last letter to you all! With Shavuot around the corner it is so symbolic to think about my return to Jerusalem, since Shavuot is one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals and will be celebrated on Friday, May 23 at sunset. During this holiday we are all to come to the holy temple in Jerusalem and sacrifice gifts to say thank you.
The tradition says that on Shavuot we received our Torah. That was the day when our laws, our traditions, our self-definition became final…formal. Binding!
The Israelites were victims of slavery for so long that the realization of freedom was so hard to grasp. I can imagine them asking themselves, “so now I just…choose for myself? Do for myself?”- Such a switch is so hard to do, for years and years their only dream was freedom, so…now what?
Three days before accepting the Torah everyone had to prepare, be pure. It was not allowed to even think negative thoughts. And the Torah is telling the story with an interesting choice of words – there is no “they” anymore, only “He” – for this is where the Israelites BECOME the Israelites, They are now ONE nation, ONE heart.
So they stood there, clean from the outside and the inside, looking for meaning, looking for inspiration, looking for a new dream.
Imagine standing there, waiting for a ceremony. Looking right and left and seeing massive amounts of people surrounding you, and you can see the anticipation on everyone’s faces. You realize that you are a part of a group and with the Torah at hand, The Israelites are now a part of something so much BIGGER, so special and so meaningful.
They have found their meaning.
In many ways the last two years with you all gave me meaning. And you know what? I think we receive the Torah every time we say we are Jewish. We accept the bond we made every time we think Jewish thoughts.
I can’t believe I’m about to leave you, Rockland! I will be finishing my Shlichut here on June 19, so please join me on my last big event, the Celebrate Israel Parade, and help me show the world that we support, love and are one with Israel.
My door will be open for goodbyes, but please be patient with my busy schedule.
Can you believe it’s been 2 years?