Its a date! Great stories from good friends…


From emunah of the festival of fruits tu'bshvat to Shavous "
">Shavuos is the festival of the giving of the Torah. We celebrate it in commemoration of the giving of the first tablets of stone at Sinai. These tablets were later destroyed, and subsequently a new set were given later on Yom Kippur. Surely then the festival of the giving of the Torah should be on the day when it was given rather than when the tablets were destroyed?

 

 

In 1964, after graduating high school, Zev Feit found himself signed up to the US National Guard office. Will, as he was now known tried not to compromise his religious practices. In the army, wearing a hat is only permitted outdoors, but Will insisted on keeping his head covered at all times.

 

Once day, as Will was eating in the mess hall, the head sergeant, Elis B. Daily walked in. He immediately spotted Will’s head covering and made his way towards him. The tension was mounting as he began circling the table where Will was sitting. Even the other men on the table were frozen with fear.

 

Finally the sergeant stopped. He pointed at the head covering and shouted, “You know what? I got myself one of them.”

“What,” Will remarked in shock.

“Yeah in my office.” And with that he took Will to his room and showed him a head covering in his drawer. Then he showed Will a Star of David on his chain. He also had a cross and a budha.

“You see?” the sergeant said.

“Yeah,” remarked Will, “in fact you have something from all of the religions here!”

“That’s right,” he affirmed, “I don’t know who G-d is, but I wanna be on His side, so I’m not taking any chances, I’m oneveryone’s side!”

 

 

When we received the Torah, we were taught a very important message. Not only where we instructed to believe in G-d [1], but we were also instructed not to have any other gods [2].

 

It is not about ‘being on everyone’s side,’ it is about true belief in One G-d, which we experienced at Sinai [3]. Indeed this is what we learned from the first tablets, in addition to the consequences of deviating from this instruction when the sin of the golden calf was committed [4] which ultimately led to the first tablets being destroyed [5].

 

This crucial belief was instilled in us at Sinai [6] when we received the first tablets, and even though they themselves were destroyed, our belief lives on.  

And it is specifically from this type of belief that enabled us to receive the second set of tablets and to attain the necessary level to ensure that they would also not be destroyed. 

 

And so we celebrate the festival of the giving of the Torah, not on the day that it was actually given, but rather in commemoration of learning about the necessary tools that would ensure that the Torah could be given to us. It is this that ensures that the Torah will always remain being ‘given’ to us, as long as we remember and believe that it is not about ‘covering our bases’ but rather covering our heads!

 

Have a ‘Onederful’ Shavuos,

 

Dan.

 

 

Additional Sources:

[1] Shemos 20:2 according to most authorities

[2] Shemos 20:3

[3] Devarim 4:9, 10 based on Rambam

[4] Shemos 32 and commentaries

[5] Shemos 32:19

[6] Ibid, 19:9 Perhaps this also answers the question asked by the commentaries on the Dayeinu stanza in the Pesach Seder that suggests that our experience of Sinai carries some worth in and of its own right, even without the giving of the Torah. Indeed it is this belief.