Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Shavuous - 5776
THE JEWISH RESPONSIBILITY
The Rabbis in the Talmud note that the Children of Israel chose to make a covenant with the Almighty. Yet the decision to accept the Torah was, in fact, a choice made under duress. The mountain was suspended on top of the nation and an offer - that they could not refuse - was made; accept the Torah, or else I- the Almighty – will release that which is on top of you and, without the funeral home and the limo, you will be buried. The nation did indeed accept the offer. However, this incident is quite disturbing. Why did the Jews “merit” such a violent beginning? Personally, I would prefer a calm and serene atmosphere, in which I could truly absorb the wonderful experience of revelation.
The key to understanding the mission of the Jew, and to appreciating the Creator’s choice for the first impression, is responsibility. The revelation at Sinai was not for personal and individual fulfillment. Rather, it was to give the most important task in the history of humanity to a chosen group.
An educator, in many ways, is like a pilot. The wrong word uttered by a teacher to a vulnerable student, can have calamitous results. The Nation of Israel was given the greatest mission of all time: the spiritual welfare of humanity. The goal of the suspended mountain was to create a long-lasting impact on the Jewish soul, that of tremendous responsibility.
Yet, we relive this experience on Shavuot by celebrating, because for the soul, responsibility is the greatest privilege. The Secret Service works long hours in challenging conditions, yet they take great pride in their significant mission. So too, we celebrate Matan Torah by reminding ourselves that our duty is sacred and is a necessity for the world.
May we all merit celebrating all the holidays in Jerusalem, where we will once again achieve clarity in our mission.