A Shavuot Message
by Rabbi Michael Plaskow MBE
Article written by Rabbi Michael Plaskow MBE our Emeritus Chazan. He now lives in Israel and amongst many other activities he writes articles which are published once a month in an english magazine called HOB. Hitachdut Olei Brittania = British immigrants keeping together.
How many times have we all experienced the following? We are feeling pretty good about ourselves - we appreciate the company, the community, and society at large - and then a little finger from heaven sends us a reminder with unfortunately illness or a trauma and only then do we realize how truly fragile and mortal we are. In retrospect, do we realize how it is Hashem who blesses us with all those things that we take for granted each and every day. It is only then that we are aware of the fact that we live by the grace of G-d and that He is the provider of everything.
However, it doesn't have to be that way. We can come to this realization without disaster striking us. All it takes is to stop every now and then, and think and reflect on our lives. Every day is a special day and maybe we should stop occasionally for a few minutes and talk to Hashem from our hearts and ask Him for His guidance. Maybe before going to sleep at night take five minutes to thank Hashem for getting us through the events and activities of that day. Even in the Megilla of Ruth, we see Ruth as a Torah seeker par excellence who is held up to the rest of us as the shining model of Torah acceptance. If we could learn to emulate Ruth in our own act of Torah acceptance, we would succeed in absorbing the entire spiritual input offered by Hashem on Shavuot.
Where does Hashem dwell? Answers the Kotzker Rebbe, the great 19th century Chassidic master, "Wherever Man permits Him to enter".
We are on the road to accepting Hashem's Torah on this festival of Shavuot, which symbolizes the re-establishment of our connection and relationship with our Creator. The word Torah comes from the root word "horah" meaning "instruction". The Torah is the instruction book on how to serve Hashem to our utmost ability, and it is the guide on how to make Hashem a real entity in our lives.