Tonight we celebrate the Festival of Shavuot with the Confirmation of our teenagers. One of three major festivals, Shavuot commemorates the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai and the call to each generation to embrace the Torah and its values and ideals.
I believe that Shavuot should have great meaning for every Jew, whether we describe ourselves as religious or not. For there is no understanding our continued miraculous existence in this world without the Torah and its teachings and its ideals. That is what sets us apart from other peoples and other nations; it is Torah, whether we believe it to be given by God, or inspired by those who felt close to God. Torah that has always given us Jews a reason to be.
Yes, you can burn a scroll, or you can destroy a synagogue. But there is no extinguishing moral truth and goodness, and the human quest for dignity, justice and humane co-existence. Elie Wiesel said it so beautifully when he declared: “The goal of the Jew has never been to make the world Jewish; only to make the world more humane.”
I believe that Torah represents our “Declaration of Independence.” When Torah entered the world so too did concepts like freedom, human dignity, the possibility of change, and the idea of moral accountability.
An old scroll that contains such relevant teachings and ideals for our world. May we cherish our heritage of Torah, and may it lead us to lives of moral goodness and spiritual contentment.
I hope you will join us this evening as we yet again stand at “Mt. Sinai” and embrace Torah. I wish you and your loved ones a Sabbath of peace and love.
Rabbi David Greenberg