Rabbi’s June 2019 Column

Shalom All,

Early next month we will be celebrating the Festival of Shavout and along with it the Confirmation of two of our students, Leah Dillon and Kate Hinz.

Shavout, is one of the three Pilgrimage Festivals on the Jewish Calendar. The other two are, Pesach and Sukkot. Each of these festivals commemorate a different part of our ancestor’s journey from slavery to the Promised Land. Just as Passover marks the Exodus from Egypt and Sukkot the forty years of wandering, Shavuot recounts the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.  

It was at this moment, according to Tradition, that our ancestors changed from a group of emancipated slaves into a nation of God. For when our people accepted the “yoke of the Commandments,” they became God’s chosen ones, meant to be a “light to the nations,” a living example of a holy life lived according to the Laws of the Eternal.

One particular point that the rabbis make about this moment, however, is the element of choice.  Our ancestors were already freed. Sure they were in the wilderness, and may not have fully understood all of the implications of their freedom, but they were still free. They could have scattered, gotten scared, returned to Egypt, but they didn’t. Instead they made the free choice to connect themselves to Adonai, to accept God’s Commandments, and walk in God’s ways.

And this is why we connect Confirmation to Shavout. As our children prepare to graduate from Religious School we ask them to fully and freely accept Judaism in the same way our ancestors did.

Shavuot/Confirmation services are Saturday night, June 8th, at 7:30 pm.  I hope you can join us.

Chag Sameach everyone,
Rabbi Todd