The monumental day of Shavuos approaches, marking G-d’s giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Torah is G-d’s instructions for living, and we certainly recognize the benefit of having this Divine book — but perhaps we don’t recognize what a crucial difference Torah can and does make in our lives.
Without a spiritual foundation or underlying purpose — without G-d’s instructions for living — life is a kind of vicious circle. We’re born, we go to school, get a job, get married, raise a family, and then our children go to school, get a job and raise a family. Where does this all lead? Was the world created for retirement?
With an injection of Jewish spirituality, that emptiness is filled with infinite meaning. We’re born to constantly benefit from the infinite goodness of G-d, to learn to appreciate the gifts He showers on us, and to emulate His ways. In so doing, we experience happiness in this world, and earn it in the World to Come.
When the final day of the world’s Creation is described, the Torah writes, “and it was evening and it was morning THE 6th day,” Yom HA-Shishi. The Sages of the Talmud note this obvious departure from the style of the previous days where the form was simply A second day, A third day, Yom Sheni, Yom Shlishi, etc. This hints to the other significant 6th day that would come in the future — the 6th day of the month of Sivan, the day the Torah was given. An allusion to Mt. Sinai on the final day of creation, the Talmud explains, tells us that the very existence of the world was in order that a nation would accept the Torah. The Jewish people chose to be that nation.
The world needs Torah, and every Jew needs Torah to answer the spiritual yearning found inside us all. Without a purpose a person can wonder: what are we living for? Equipped with His “Guide to Life,” there is the potential for every moment on earth and beyond to be filled with richness.
Have a wonderful Shabbos and enjoyable Shavuos,
Rabbi Mordechai Dixler
Program Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org