The holiday of Shavuot sounds like a top-rated Hollywood screenplay: Moses, the people of Israel, the giving of the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai, thunder and lightning, and action happening all around. No doubt, it is an interesting screenplay to think about while biting into a cheese pastry. In fact, it is the internal screenplay for every one of us.
We all know the story of Mount Sinai as one of the stories Morah Deborah, the Hebrew school teacher, used to tell us. Truthfully though, what always interested me is what to do with that impressive screenplay. Morah Deborah never explained that part, and for years actually, no one was able to give me an answer on the subject. That is, until I discovered the Wisdom of Kabbalah.
The Wisdom of Kabbalah explains that every holiday is a milestone, symbolizing internal states a person goes through on his way to discover nature’s Upper force, which operates the reality we perceive.
It might sound weird to us, but the force that effects reality is the force of love and bestowal. If we take a look at plants, animals, or the functioning of our body, we will discover that everything works in harmony and mutuality. For example, each cell in our body demands only what is necessary for its existence, and uses the rest of its strength to care for the existence of the rest of the body, all thanks to the power of love and bestowal that motivates it.
And who spoils the pleasant and harmonious celebration of nature? True, we do. Man is the only creature upon this earth that acts in opposition to the general force, takes care of his own interests instead of caring for the general good, uses others for his own advantage, or in short – is an egoist. This egoism is costing us quite a lot. It is the cause for all suffering in our world. Our world is governed by rules, and those who don’t obey them, suffer. A person who jumps off a bridge is bound to get hurt even if he hasn’t heard of gravity. A person that doesn’t care about anyone but himself will experience suffering even if he hasn’t heard of the power of love and bestowal. This is the way it works.
Shavuot and the Internal Script
So how can we change? How can we escape our egoism and act according to the power of love and bestowal? Easily! Simply by wanting to. The desire we’re talking about is not the same desire of wanting a slice of pizza; we’re talking about a strong and solid desire upon the understanding that our life is utterly dependent on overcoming our ego and connecting to others. Once there is a genuine desire, a piercing demand to overcome the ego and start feeling others as ourselves, then one receives the method to accomplish it.
The holiday of Shavuot symbolizes an internal state, when a person receives the method that is the key to a spiritual life, in which he will feel himself and others as one. It is complete, whole, undivided, free from hate, exploitation, and the ego.
The Wisdom of Kabbalah sees the story of the giving of the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai as an allegory to an internal process happening inside of us. “Moses” represents the desire to rise above the ego. When this desire comes before every other desire we have, it ascends “Mountain of Sinai”, representing the ego, (Sinai from the Hebrew word Sinah which means hatred) and brings Torah, which derives from Ohr (light), meaning the method to bring hearts closer together.
This coming Shavuot, while biting into a cheese pastry, remember this fascinating screenplay of Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai, and be sure to remember that this screenplay belongs to you as well. Happy Shavuot!