Shavuot II — Ma Nishtana? How Is This Day Different From All Other Days

 וּבְטוּבוֹ מְחַדֵּשׁ בְּכָל יוֹם תָּמִיד מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית

U’v’tuvo m’chadesh  b’chol yom tamid ma’aseh bereishit

And with His Goodness He renews each day, continuously, the act of creation.

A great light goes out each and every day. It’s identical to the great light that comes into the world with Matan Torah, the revelation of Torah, on Shavuot.

What’s different about Shavuot, that we re-enact and celebrate this particular charge of energy? Each day should lead us to the same, but ever-heightening experience of expanded consciousness, awareness of God’s presence. The pure, undifferentiated light of Ein Sof is the same today as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow.

We mark Shavuot because it is the culmination of an intense period, from the rebirth and awakening of Yetziat Mitzraim (leaving Egypt) of Pesach through Shavuot, of self and national preparation. Each year we take a symbolic journey, but engage in a very real process, largely shedding our old illusions, our self-delusions, our complacency. We might use elaborate meditational techniques or we might simply count the days in anticipation, aware that only later will we begin to know anything at all.

Of course we can experience great insight and revelation each day.  The lesson from Shavuot is that we need to prepare ourselves, to make ourselves receptive, to find the courage and honesty to throw away our fossilized and self-satisfying view of “what is”. It’s inconvenient and gets in our way for narcissistic self-indulgence on every level, but when we fully open our eyes, rather than merely go through pious motions, אֵין עוֹד מִלְּבַדּוֹ, Ein Od Mil’vado,  there truly is nothing but God (Devarim 4:35).

Then, and only then, are we ready to receive the Torah.

Chag Sameach.

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2 Responses to Shavuot II — Ma Nishtana? How Is This Day Different From All Other Days

  1. Rebecca Gmail says:

    Harry, Yasher Koach!

    Special Shehekianu moment below. Jacob at his 2nd birthday party on his ima’s lap

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