Monday, June 6, 2011

Shavuot - A promise is a promise.

It was the single greatest event in human history.

The One and Only Creator of Everything, the Infinite One, Almighty, Holy and Blessed be His name - gave the blueprint of Existence to human beings.

Which human beings did He choose to deliver this awesome Law?  He didn't choose the wealthiest group of people at the time, nor the most powerful, nor even the most refined of character.

G-d gave the Torah to a lowly group of Egyptian slaves.

Why?  Wouldn't it have made more sense to give this Holy Code to a people of greater stature?  Certainly, the ruling class of any given nation in existence at the time would have had greater means to publicize this open miracle, this Giving of the Torah.

G-d gave the Holy Torah to these Egyptian slaves, these Israelites, because He had already promised to do so.

"And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a G-d unto you and to your seed after you.   And I will give unto you, and to your seed after you, the land where you dwell, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their G-d."  (Gen. 17:7-8)

G-d promised Abraham that his descendants would receive both the Law to live by, and the Land in which to follow the Law.

We had fallen so low; the kabbalists explain that there are 50 levels of spiritual connection (טהרה) and disconnection (טומאה).  The Israelite slaves in Egypt had fallen to the 49th level of spiritual disconnection.  Any worse, and they would have been completely disconnected from G-d.

We have all heard about the miracle of the Ten Plagues, the Splitting of the Sea, and of course the Giving of the Torah.  What makes all of these events even more miraculous was that G-d elevated an entire nation of people from the lowest of the low, to the highest of the highest spiritual connection - direct revelation.  Torah.

We can now see the deeper significance of counting 49 days from Passover (leaving Egypt, leaving slavery), and  the 50th day corresponding to the Giving of the Torah.

The slaves had jumped from -49 to 0 in a very short span of time.  Now, they needed to do the hard work of slowly climbing from 0 to 1, and then 2... all the way to 49, and then 50; complete spiritual connection.


This process mirrors our own spiritual struggles.  No matter how far a person has fallen away from G-d's law,  no matter how spiritually disconnected he or she is; they can instantly leap from any negative state, straight to zero.  Anyone who sincerely admits, regrets, and vows to correct his/her mistakes, has instantly removed all of the previous damage.

Getting out of negative territory is easy.  The harder step is building towards ever greater levels of connection with the Divine.

We achieve this ascent through the study of the Law, the performance of the 613 commandments given to us,  as well as personal character refinement.

One such trait is integrity.  G-d made a promise to Abraham, and fulfilled that promise, even though Abraham's descendants were not worthy of the great miracles bestowed upon them.

 May we all keep our promises, keep the Law which connects us to the Divine, and keep striving for the 50th level of spiritual connection.  


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