Shavuot: Coming to Mt. Sinai and Into the Presence Again

Shavuot hovers less than a week away, a chance to once again stand at Mt. Sinai and receive the 10 commandments and the Torah. Yes, stand once again, for it is said that every Jews was present at the giving of the Torah.

When we celebrate Shavuot by staying up all night studying we move through 50 “gates” on our spiritual journey to experiencing God – to once again standing in the Divine Presence. As the first rays of light crest the nearest mountain or ocean or plain, God draws closer and we rise to meet Ruach HaOlam, the Spirit of the Universe..

What a beautiful vision.

I turned down the opportunity to teach on Shavuot. I have children and a husband and work, and I can’t give up the whole next day to sleep. Maybe I would be so refreshed by the experience that I would have no problem getting through the day, but I know my rabbi has cancelled all b’nei mitvah tutoring for that, I assume to sleep and rest. I’m sure I would not have been functional after being up all night.

While part of me wants to stay up on my own – I know someone who does that – I know I will be long asleep when the sun begins to rise. So, I began to wonder: Are there other ways to reach this height, to move through the gates, and to be in God’s presence?

My first thought was that we stand in God’s presence each Friday evening when we light the Shabbat candles, this time just before sundown. The lighting of the candles and the blessings we say invoke the presence of the Shechinah, the Divine Feminine. In Jewish tradition, each time we study Torah, God joins us. And each time we build a mishkan, a sanctuary, God joins us there.

I believe God joins me what I pray earnestly, when I speak from the heart and when I meditate and experience even one moment of being in the now – for God resides in the moment.

People have always believed that there were times when the veil between heaven and earth became thing and it was easier to access and to experience “the other side” – Divinity, Heaven on Earth, something greater than ourselves. Shavuot represents one of those times.

So, in whatever way you can, I suggest using the energy of Shavuot to move through the veil, to invoke the Divine Presence, to rise to meet the Creator. Do it in whatever way you like – studying all night, meditating, praying, conducting a ritual of your own making. I plan to do a little studying , a little praying, a little meditating, all within the structure of a ritual. What ritual? I’ve a few days to think about it…and I hope that when the time comes, I will open to the Diving flow of light and energy and know exactly what to do and that my actions and invocations will bring me to the foot of Mt. Sinai once again.

Ken yehe ratzon. May it be God’s will.

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