Rabbi Dayle's June 2020 Letter to Congregation

posted Jun 1, 2020, 3:00 PM by Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir   [ updated Jun 1, 2020, 3:40 PM ]

Dearest members of the beloved Leyv Ha-Ir community,

I write to you on the festival of Shavuot, the time of the Giving of the Torah. On this holiday, we relive that dramatic and powerful moment at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Interestingly, although the holiday is called the time of GIVING the Torah, our commanded action is to RECEIVE the Torah. Traditions for this time include studying Torah all night, or at least until the skies open up at midnight, reading the Ten Commandments from the Torah, and eating dairy foods, because the Torah is compared to milk in its life-giving capacity (except for those who are lactose intolerant!).

Receiving Torah, however, is not a one- or two-day a year affair. We receive Torah every time we read from the sacred scroll, every time we study a Jewish text, and, in the broadest sense, every time we open our hearts to learn from the Torah that is revealed to us each day of our lives. This is why the blessing after reading the Torah acknowledges the Divine who “has given us the Torah of truth and implanted within us eternal life.” We close the blessing with the words, “Blessed is the Eternal, who IS GIVING us the Torah.”

So, the act of revelation is a continuous process. Our very lives are a process of uncovering life-giving truth. May we open our hearts to the Torah that is awaiting us in every day we are alive, and may we, in our sacred community, witness and learn from one another’s precious wisdom.

With blessings for inspiration and health,

 Rabbi Dayle