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  SHAVUOT  
 
The Key to Our Heritage
By Rabbi Chaim Lobel

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Numbers; Chapter 1, Verses 1-2) “G-d spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai...Take a census of the entire assembly of Israel, according to their families, according to their fathers' houses.”
 
The Yalkut Shemoni explains the reason for the census – G-d initially offered the Torah to all the gentile nations but they refused the Torah because they did not wish to be burdened by the Mitzvot (commandments) (Yalkut Shemoni: 286). However, after G-d gave the Torah to the Jews, the other nations became jealous and demanded to know why they were not given the Torah. G-d responded by rhetorically asking them to cite their lineage (Yalkut Shemoni: 684). When they could not, G-d ordered the Children of Israel to take a census “according to their families, according to their fathers’ houses”.
 
Why is a nation’s ability to trace its lineage a prerequisite to receiving the Torah? Aren’t good character and understanding far more important than knowing who was your great great grandfather?
 
Before answering that question, let us ask another – How do we know that the Torah we have today is the same Torah G-d gave Moshe at Mount Sinai? Simple. We have an unbroken chain of transmission from Moshe Rabbeinu to the present; we can trace the Torah’s transmission from generation to generation beginning from the revelation at Mount Sinai.
 
How could any nation of the world ever assume to guard the Torah when they have no means to prove that they actually posses the Torah? How could they vouch that the torah they have is the same one given to Moshe Rabbeinu? How could they testify that not a single word had changed? They could not.
 
Israel has proven to be a worthy guardian of the Torah. Not only have we preserved an unbroken chain of transmission but each generation endeavors to ensure that all future generations will protect the Torah.
 
This Shavuot, we will celebrate 3320 years of guarding the same Torah given to Moshe at Mount Sinai. Children will celebrate an unbroken chain of learning Torah from the previous generation and teaching Torah to the next generation. The House of Israel will celebrate the Torah of our fathers and our children. This Shavuot, like the thousands of Shavuot in years past, we will celebrate receiving the one and only Torah. 
Chag Sameach

 
Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html

 
   
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