Tuesday June 8, 2019
After the Sinai Experience
After Shavuot, we return to mundane time; the sense of kedushah (holiness) is lessened in our lives with the last remaining moments of sacred time, as the holiday ebbs to a close. Havdallah brings that definitive moment into clarity – the transition from a heightened sense of awareness, encapsulating the divine flow (shefa) present on yom tov, to the diminution of that light, as the last remaining rays are absorbed in the coarseness of our material lives. What are we able to preserve of lasting value from our experience, figuratively speaking, at Sinai, receiving the Torah anew? When the last remnants of cheesecake are gone? When there are no more blintzes to reheat? (We are compelled to search for the essence of our experience).
It is necessary to shift gears, so to speak, in order to keep the momentum going. The revelation at Sinai was an enlightening experience for B’nei Yisrael. Comparatively speaking, Shavuot may be emotionally and spiritually uplifting; yet, after the climb to the heights of Sinai, we’re bound to fall back into the mundane pattern of our lives, without the inspiration to maintain our Sinai experience. Unless, we acknowledge that it is incumbent upon us to renew the covenant at Sinai every day of our lives. To see each day as an opportunity for renewal; to be open towards the mercies that G-d bestows upon us every morning (see Lamentations 3:22-23); and, to consciously live in accordance with G-d’s commandments. This is the task at hand, once we are cognizant of our responsibility to uphold the mitzvoth (commandments).
Beyond the sublime heights of Sinai, are found the lowly grounds of day to day existence that are to serve as the proving ground for the inculcation of values derived from Above. This is the essence of Torah – our relationship with G-d, as epitomized by the first five commandments, and our relationship to our fellow human beings, as characterized by the second half of the ten commandments. To gauge our lives by the standards provided by G-d: this should encompass and permeate every area of our lives. In other words, the ten utterances given at Sinai, these should continue to resonate within the innermost part of our being. Let’s look beyond the emotional or spiritual high of the holiday, and seek to cling to H’Shem every day of our lives through a constant focus on Him. Until next year at Sinai.