Shavuot is just around the corner, May 29th and May 30th! This year we may not be able to celebrate Shavuot together in Synagogues or with delicious cheesecake joining with friends and family, as we usually do. But we'll be together in other ways.
Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, when all Jews stood in unison, as the Torah testifies, "Kish Echad Blev Echad", one people with with one heart. If fact, as some commentaries explain, it was our staunch unity at Mt. Sinai that aroused within G-d's love and ultimately the desire to give us the Torah. How then can we celebrate and relive Shavuot, a holiday of unity, now at a time of such extreme isolation?
First a Story.
On a frosty winter evening back in October of 1970, a then small Chassidic group - Chabad-Lubavitch - was preparing its very first telephone broadcast of the Rebbe’s teachings and lecturers in real time across the world. A first in broadcasting of its kind for the world as well! These special broadcast Farbreingens, would later become a weekly experience for Chabad - ultimately including over 600 locations worldwide with thousands tuning in weekly,
At the Farbreingen the Rebbe explained the significance in this type of technological advance. “Since the Jewish people are spread out all over the world, setting us physically apart from each other, broadcasting and thereby inspiring one another all across the world, is the way to bring Jewish unity, to enjoy each other's company and celebrate our Jewish heritage together”.
“In fact, the ability to live stream these inspirational talks” continued the Rebbe, “presents Jews worldwide with the unique opportunity to resolve as one people, in realtime at the very same moment, to increase in their G-dly service”. A form of Jewish unity described only of the Jews at Mt Sinai and perhaps in the prophecies of the Messianic era when “all Jews will sit under one tent in their dedication toward G-d”.
Today, even as we are isolated, we’ve come to see and experience an unprecedented level of worldwide unity. With Facebook, WhatsApp and Zoom calls happening daily, the new reality of a global social life has transformed Jewish life. We find ourselves participating in Jewish life as a global community, just like we did at Mt. Sinai. We’re inspiring and getting inspired by people we never met, from one side of the globe to the other. In many ways, we're already sitting in one tent!
If you haven’t yet participated in this amazing Jewish experience yourself, come on into the tent, get online and reach out to a friend, get inspired and inspire others. If you're not the online type, no worries, phones still work and are just as powerful. Let's prepare for Shavuot this year as a global people, let's celebrate and relive the Mt. Sinai experience truly together, as one people everywhere. Perhaps this year, more than ever!
Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy Shavuot!