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Strangely Prepared for Shavuos 2020

Thinking about Shavuos, I'm struck by how utterly mind-blowing it must have been to witness the giving of the Aseres HaDibbros (The Ten Commandments)! The Torah itself says that as we stood in preparation at the foot of Har Sinai (Mt. Sinai), we "saw the thunder and heard the lightning". Um, no, that wasn't a typo! And according to the Midrash, the barren desert burst forth in intoxicatingly fragrant flowers and shofar blasts from the skies pierced the air and our very cells! All of nature was overturned, as though the splitting of the Sea and the Ten Plagues in Egypt hadn't been miraculous enough... All of humanity (and the entire animal kingdom) throughout the world were stopped in their tracks as the Creator of the Universe revealed His presence to us! Utterly captivated by what we were witnessing, we actually told Moshe Rabbenu that we didn't want him as our emissary; we wanted a direct encounter with our Creator! And as we know, that didn't work out so well, as the utter force of Hashem's bellowing assertion "I am Hashem your G-d..." blew us over, and angels had to descend from their Heavenly posts to revive us...As I said, the whole experience strikes me as completely mind-blowing.


Now our Sages make it clear that we don't celebrate holidays in order to commemorate what happened "once upon a time". Rather, we are meant each year when the chag (holiday) comes around, to deeply relive the original experience, and to grab hold of the energy, power, spiritual gifts, and emotional experiences that our People received "back then" and that remain accessible to us every time the chag 'comes to town'. It helps when we do some preparation (both physical and spiritual), in advance of the chag, so we can align ourselves with what's coming. Even more so when it comes to Shavuos-- The Torah actually tells us to "prepare ourselves" for the Sinai experience.


This year, my sense is that we're all coming in to Shavuos fairly well prepared, in that our minds have already been blown and we're ready for anything! As Covid-19 absolutely turned our lives upside down, stopping humanity in its tracks, we all watched in wonder at the world being unravelled overnight by an unseen force of incomprehensible power. Not coincidentally, Corona means crown. I believe that just as we have come to acknowledge the possibility of an invisible particle "ruling" over the entire world, we've expanded our ability to recognize the presence of the Real crown-- that of the Creator and Master of the Universe, in our lives! May the challenges and growth we've undergone these last few months enable us this Shavuos to access palpable personal encounter with the One who gives us the Torah, gives us each breath, and shines His constant light upon us.

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