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policy renewal

06/02/2022 08:41:48 AM

Jun2

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Most people who have access to good health care have an annual physical. We know that this is an important maintenance task. So too we arrange to have the oil changed and our car checked out thoroughly so that we drive in a safe vehicle. We should have our HVAC system cleaned and checked regularly. The insurance policies that we purchase are annually reviewed and renewed as well.  These are regular routines that re-occur annually as part of our lives.

What about our relationship with God? Do we ever review it? Is it up for renewal? Actually it is, and the renewal date is Shavuot, for Shavuot annually commemorates God’s revelation at Mt. Sinai and the gift of the Torah. Our tradition teaches that all future generations were present at Mt. Sinai. The Israelites responded on our behalf with the immortal words “Na-aseh V’nishma” – we will do and we will obey. With these two words, all present and future generations accepted God’s words.

When a young person becomes a Bat or Bar Mitzvah, they accept the responsibilities of being an adult Jew. Some might suggest that every time we perform a mitzvah, we re-affirm our commitment to God. That may be true, but I think that an annual re-commitment is an important statement each of us needs to make, as a reminder of our responsibilities. Thus Shavuot.

Many synagogues celebrate the ability of their youngest students who can now read Hebrew with a Consecration service or a ceremony to present them their first Siddur. Many synagogues also have a confirmation ceremony, where post-B’nai Mitzvah teens re-affirm their commitment to Judaism. It is rather common to find both of these ceremonies taking place on Shavuot, as the connection to the festival is apparent. What I’m suggesting is something comparable to the confirmation, an opportunity for each of us to re-affirm our commitment to Judaism in a tangible way. And that way is quite simple. You just have to attend services on the first day of Shavuot, to stand as you hear the Torah read of the moment in time when our ancestors stood at Mt. Sinai. This is the original commitment ceremony of our people. Your physical presence says “Na-aseh V’nishmah”: we will do and we will obey. Oh, and you are most warmly invited to services on the second day of Shavuot as well.

Hag Sameach!

Sat, July 2 2022 3 Tammuz 5782