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Sounds of Torah

Shavuot/Parshat Behaalotecha

Numbers 8:1 -12:16


This week we celebrate Shavuot-the Feast of Weeks. For the last seven weeks since Pesach we have journeyed through the wilderness to arrive now at the foot of Mt. Sinai and we once again receive the miracle of Torah.  I call this the miracle of Torah because each year we gather again to hear the words of the Ten Commandments and to reaffirm that which our ancestors did; we make the covenant our own.  Shavuot is an opportunity to place ourselves in holy relationship with God and Torah and the Jewish people –the three pillars of Jewish faith. It is a miracle that we get to be present there. It is a miracle that Torah is renewed annually.  It is a miracle and gift that is eternal.  And we get to participate in this wondrous and amazing moment in our People’s life.


Take a moment to reflect on your pride as a Jewish person. The accomplishments and contributions of our people to the world are many.  The Torah and our emphasis on learning and study and education has been the Jewish people’s guiding force for centuries.  This holiday of Shavuot is one in which we celebrate all of those ideals.


So as you celebrate Shavuot, imagine you are at that moment when God calls out “I am Adonai Your God who led you out of Egypt to be Your God.”  Imagine that you are receiving the revelation as did our ancestors.  How will you hear this revelation and how will it guide you? This revelation in the book of Exodus was heralded with the sound of thunder and lightning, smoke and the sound of Shofar blasts.  There is a cacophony of sound to help us pay attention to the importance of the moment.   God’s voice is like music accompanied by the blasts of the Shofar!


In our Torah portion this week, Behaalotecha, Moses is told to make two silver trumpets.  “Make for yourself two silver trumpets- make them hammered out, and they shall be yours for the summoning of the assembly and to cause the camps to journey. “ (Num. 10:1-2). The sound of trumpets is to help us pay attention to the community gatherings. The blasts are signals for action and movement.


The sounds of Torah are in the blasts of the trumpet and the Shofar and in the chanting of the verses. The sounds of the Torah the words read and studied aloud.  You have the power to keep the sounds of Torah vibrant and alive not only for our generation but future generations but first you have to imagine yourself there at that moment of revelation, at Sinai. And then you have to let those words ring in your ears and flow from your own mouth and move through your body to action.  Live them! Live Torah and Be Torah in all you do.


Chag Sameach.