Shavuot, the Holiday of Torah Acceptance, starts this Saturday night. Shavuot is loved by children and adults thanks to the tradition of eating dairy desserts and studying Torah. But where do these traditions come from?
As we know, when Jews were redeemed from Egypt, after hundreds of years in slavery, they received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai in the middle of the desert.
The acceptance of the Torah transformed a former group of slaves into a nation with distinct code of behaviour related to all areas of their lives. In simpler words, our great-great-great-great-great parents received an identity.
It wasn’t easy to change their lifestyle. The laws of Kashrut alone changed their menus forever! No more cheeseburgers for Devorah and Chaim. So while their parents were making their kitchen kosher, those two ate cheesecake. And we continue to do so each Shavuot – for about 3300 years.
These days, however, many people experience an identity crisis. We don’t always know what our true inner self stands for. How many weekends we end up spending on Facebook in total isolation, while being surrounded by other people who are also busy checking their phones? How many years we’ve spent trying to please the society by doing ‘important’ things as defined by trends? Dressed as dictated by fashion; studying for degrees we don’t like; buying the things we don’t need but still buy to be considered respected society members…
But trends come and go and really… Is there anything timeless to stick to in our ever-changing world?
According to the Holiday of Shavuot, our identity is timeless. It can be found in childhood memories and stories shared at family gatherings, in tastes and smells and in values and traditions passed from one generation to the next…
This is our heritage that constitutes who we are as humans with a soul, no matter how many years go down the track.