As I type this blog, we enter the final hours before the onset of Shavuot. In the hours to come Jews around the world will celebrate receiving the written and oral Torahs thousands of years ago on Sinai. The revelation continues to this day, as each generation makes the decision to accept, wrestle with, engage with and embrace Torah.
Throughout time we have studied and learned Torah with the tools at hand – our minds, our bodies, scrolls, books, computer screens and social media. Over the past 24 hours Jews throughout the world have tweeted about Torah. Read some of the tweets by clicking this link which searches for Torah related tweets.
May your celebration be sweet and filled with the miracles of Sinai.
A common practice when Jews meet one another is to play “Jewish geography,” a process in which we find people we know in common. On the face this may seem like a Jewish version of 6 degrees of separation, but it goes deeper. It is a means of finding connection. The game often succeeds, but even when it doesn’t we sometimes have the feeling that we have met before. When we cannot figure out how we know one another, we say that we saw each other at Sinai.
Jewish tradition teaches that all Jews throughout time stood at Sinai thousands of years ago and received the Torah. Tomorrow night we begin celebrating Shavuot, the day G-d gave the Torah to our people. Each of us stood there and experienced this great gift . In remembrance of the gift of Torah (and the teaching that our people overslept the morning we received it) we will study all night tomorrow night.
I invite you to think about the place of Torah in your life. Perhaps Torah resonates in ideas, in family, in friends, in your work, in your life decisions, in your passion to change the world or in your religious practice. Where is Torah today and where might it be tomorrow or the next day?
Tomorrow night, wherever you are, I look forward to seeing you at Sinai.
Today I finished reading the third in Maggie Anton’s series Rashi’s Daughters. The series of three historical fiction weave the lives of our ancestors in 11th century France with the study of Talmud and the incredible lives of Rashi, his three daughters, his sons-in-law, grandchildren and community. The popular volumes read accurately to me considering that outside of Rashi’s writings and responsa of the time we have little documentation of life in Troyes, France at that time.
If you haven’t read them, I encourage you to visit your local library or bookstore, open one of the volumes and start reading. I imagine that you will end up taking the book with you.
Maggie Anton is not the only contemporary author writing about Rashi. Elie Wiesel recently wrote a mini-bibliography about Rashi which has gotten good reviews. You can read Maggie Anton’s review on the Mixed Multitudes blog (from My Jewish Learning).
Have you read the books by Anton or Wiesel? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Read and enjoy!
Today I found an additional web source for translation of Tanakh, Jewish Bible. This one is a translation of Torah and N’viim (no Ketuvim [wriitngs] yet) titled The Living Torah and is trasnlated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, published by Moznaim publishers – thanks, Wikipedia! (You can also find a link in the Jewish text links on the right.)
Shavuah tov (a good week to you and yours).
Here are few more link additions:
(Thanks to Velveteen Rabbi for the tips.)
A blog on one of my faviorite study/liturgical tasks – chanting Torah! Read all about Alto On Chanting.
A blog on the painful journey of infertility and (now) pregancy, In the Barren Season.
Parashat Vayeitzei, this week’s Torah portion, includes Jacob’s famous dream of angels going up and down ladders. During the dream he speaks with G-d and upon awakening says, “Surely G-d was in this place and I, I did not know.”
Have you ever wondered about Judaism and angels? If so, take a look at the short commentary on this week’s portion “Angels Around Us”.
Wishing you a week of health, learning, and joy.
May you ever be surrounded by the angels.
The great late Chief Rabbi Kook one wrote a short drash on holiness in leadership/government called “In the Holy of Holies.” In it he writes of the obligation of leaders to work with everyone – whatever their personal observance – honoring them all.