Yup, here we are again. Shavuot, the time at which it all began. When Jews became Jews. When we got the Torah.
Why is the Torah Important?
So, what is this Torah anyway? And why does it matter? Is an ancient book of rules still relevant in 2023? And does it have anything to do with us, with just regular ordinary folks?
The Dubno Maggid, Rabbi Yaakov Krantz (1740-1804, lived in Lithuania) was a preacher who was famous for his magnificent parables. He once gave the following analogy:
A diamond dealer was expecting an extremely valuable delivery. It contained rare and precious jewels, whose combined value was enough to make a pauper rich for generations.
After waiting for some time, he finally saw the courier coming up to his home with his expensive goods.
But upon laying his eyes on the man, he quickly realized something was terribly wrong. The fellow was huffing and puffing, carrying an enormous heavy box. Finally the man reached the doorstep, and laid the heavy load down with a groan of relief. Thinking he would be richly rewarded for his hard work, the delivery man looked expectantly at the jeweler. To his surprise, far from looking happy, the jeweler looked like he was about to pass out.
“What’s wrong?” he asked in alarm. “Aren’t you happy to receive this massive package? Surely, there is something very valuable in here”. But the man was looking at his shoes. “This is not my package,” he made out the words. “My package is not heavy. It is not large. If you had to work so bitterly to deliver it, it’s obviously not the packet of gems I am awaiting”.
God’s Gift to His Children
What is the Torah really? It is our connection with Hashem. It is about a relationship of love. It is our key to happiness. True and eternal happiness. Not shallow fleeting fake happiness that materialism offers, but happiness that penetrates the soul down to its core.
It is not about making us feel restricted, stressed out and miserable. And if that is what the word “Torah” or “Judaism” brings to mind, then you have the wrong package. There’s been a terrible mix-up. This is not your delivery.
Torah is a gift. And this gift belongs to us all. But sadly, many Jews today feel that they are too far removed. They think they’ve lost their connection to the Torah. All this lofty talk about God, Torah, and the soul, it’s not for them. “Not my thing” they say.
But here’s where they’re wrong. Torah is an inheritance of the Jewish People. Every single one of us. That will never change, no matter what.
Yes, we can’t always relate to it tangibly, and sometimes we feel like our connection is dead. Sometimes we want to shove it all aside. But just as you cannot change your core, and your soul can never be destroyed, so too, your essence as a Jew will always remain, and God never forgets you. No matter what you say, do, or think, He still refers to you as “my child”.
by Rabbi Pinchos Fried
Thank you and חג שבועות שמח.