The word תורה or “Torah” in English has a fascinating meaning and resonance. For Hebrew nerds (like me!), the word comes from the three-letter Hebrew root י ר ה (yud, resh, hey). This root is surprisingly connected to the ancient practice of archery and can mean “to flow” or “to shoot an arrow in order to hit a mark.” There are other ways we can manipulate this Hebrew root. The letters also come together to spell the noun “מורה,” “one who does the flowing” or, as the word is used in common parlance, “teacher.” And finally, when one adds a ת (tav), we can create the word “תורה,“ “Torah.” When digging deep into the etymology of this important Hebrew word, I wonder, is Torah the arrow or the target?
On Saturday evening, we begin the holiday of Shavuot, the celebration of that moment on Mount Sinai when God gave us the Torah. As we reflect on this sacred gift, I would like to think of Torah as the arrow from which the story of our people, our belief in God, our work and purpose in the world and our connection to one another flows. Of course, we are the ones who must carry the flow of our tradition forward and be visionaries and, of course, “מורים,” teachers, as we build and plan for our Jewish future.
This is an important weekend at Temple Shalom. As we prepare to begin renovations in our sanctuary and social hall later this month, we gather on Friday evening to pay tribute to our sacred spaces. On Saturday morning, we honor our cornerstone members, those Temple Shalom families who have been part of the temple community for 40 or more years. And finally, Saturday evening, we welcome Shavuot as members teach their favorite stories from Torah.
This is a weekend for celebration, appreciation and memory. This is a moment to stop and recognize the blessings that emanate and flow from our sacred Torah as we open our arms wide and allow ourselves to be targeted and filled by their beauty and embrace. Baruch atah Adonai, notein hatorah. Blessed are You, God, for giving us Torah.
This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and JewishBoston assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here.