We are just hours away from the holiday of Shavuot, the festival in which we commemorate the giving of Torah at Har Sinai. The image of Shavuot as a betrothal between the Jewish people and God is most compelling. Jewish weddings begin with the signing of the ketubah, the marriage contract. In this case, the ketubah is the Torah. While witnesses do not sign anything on the holiday itself, we stand as the Ten Commandments are read from the Torah, testifying to its receival and reaffirm our commitment to God and the Jewish people.
If you will, a modern-day renewal ceremony. In the few I have attended, partners recommit themselves to each other, often writing and sharing vows. A ritual that publicly proclaims the meaning embedded within the relationship and intention to move forward through life together. Shavuot is perhaps, one of the least celebrated Jewish holidays. The holiday is associated with cheesecake and learning. Both essential elements. But what could be more important than taking time over the holiday to determine, how do I renew my relationship with God? And how do I recommit myself to the Jewish people? In otherwise, how do I choose Jewish this year?
Conversion candidates stand before a Beit Din and declare their eternal connection to the Jewish faith and the people and land of Israel. On Shavuot, each year, Jews should engage in this annual opportunity. This year, will you choose to join a synagogue and develop stronger ties to a Jewish community? Will you take a Torah class to further your Jewish education? Will you engage in a series of mitzvot, finding ways to serve as a messenger of God? What does your renewal ceremony entail so that God hears and sees your continued loyalty and devotion?
May your Shavuot be filled with a reconnection to the Holy One and a renewed desire to join the Jewish people.
Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.