Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Festival of the Giving of the Torah

Rabbi Dov Begon – Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir
Message for Today:

The Torah was given to the Jewish People, not to any individual or particular party or stream within the Jewish People. Only when Israel were united as one person with one heart did they receive the Torah at Sinai. The knowledge that the Torah was imparted to the entire Jewish People is bequeathed to every Jewish child when he is learning to talk. His father then teaches him, “Moses prescribed the Torah to us, an eternal heritage to the congregation of Jacob” (Deuteronomy 33:4; Rambam, Hilchot Talmud Torah 1:6). Our holy Torah is a heritage for the entire Jewish People.

Likewise each day, before we learn Torah, we bless G-d, “who chose us from amongst all nations and gave us His Torah.” The blessing refers to us in the plural. Every approach to Torah learning must start with an awareness that G-d chose us from amongst all the nations, that the Jewish People are a chosen people, a “kingdom of priests and a holy people” (see Exodus 19:5-6). Torah learning that does not begin with recitation of the Torah blessing to G-d “who chose us from amongst all nations,” brought the exile upon us. As our sages say, “Why was the Land lost? Because they did not recite the blessings before Torah learning” (see Bava Metzia 85, Sichot HaRav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Talmud Torah 2).

Today, how fortunate we are and how pleasant our lot that after two thousand years of exile we have finally merited to return to our land. And we are not only returning to our land, but to ourselves and to our Torah – our heritage. Here in Eretz Yisrael, the special soul of the Jewish People as a chosen people, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, is increasingly being revealed for all to see. True, we are still only at the start of the process of rebirth, and there is still enormous confusion and lack of knowledge and understanding regarding the essence, identity and purpose of our people, chosen by G-d to bring light to the world. Yet we can already see the light at the end of the time tunnel, in the form of tens of thousands of our Jewish brethren who are returning to our holy Torah, filling the synagogues and study halls, and reciting the Torah blessing, praising G-d “who chose us from amongst all nations and gave us His Torah.” On Shavuot, we recite with enormous joy, “You chose us from amongst all peoples. You loved us and wanted us… and You lovingly gave us holidays for joy, festivals and good times for rejoicing, including this Shavuot holiday, the festival of the giving of the Torah.”

With blessings for a joyous Shavuot and looking forward to complete redemption.Shabbat Shalom!

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