On Shavuot we celebrate the monumental event in Jewish history when G-D gave the Jewish people the Torah, seven weeks after the Israelites left Egypt. According to the Torah, G-D descended down to Mount Sinai and spoke the first Ten Commandments to the Jewish people. We refer to this miraculous event as “the revelation at Sinai.”
And how miraculous it was! It was so extraordinary that the Torah relates that the Israelites were petrified, fearing that hearing G-D’s voice will lead to death— Moses assured them that this is not the case, and they need not worry.
But the giving of the Torah is not only a monumental event in Jewish history because G-D miraculously revealed himself to the Israelites. It also marks the time that the Jewish people became a nation, unified by the Torah. It was a time when every single Jew entered a covenant with G-D.
Our sages link the holiday of Shavuot to a marriage. The Torah, they explain, symbolizes the Ketubah (marriage contract), and the Mitzvot (commandments in the Torah) symbolize how the Jewish people lovingly interact with G-D. The “marriage” covenant between G-D and the Jews is solidified as the Jewish people make a promise to G-D during this “marriage ceremony”: “Everything which G-D has spoken to us, we shall do, and we shall listen ״ )Exodus 24:7).
As we enter into the holiday of Shavuot this year, I try to relate to the concept of having a marriage covenant with G-D. Our Rabbis teach that when we celebrate holidays, we are not only remembering events which have happened in the past, but we are actually reliving the events today, and in our time. How can I even attempt to experience the miraculous events of Mount Sinai? How can I receive G-D’s Torah and make a covenant with him?
The beauty of Torah is that it’s accessible to every single Jew. We can all relate to the Torah, but perhaps in different ways. I personally relate to the mystical teachings of the Torah, commonly referred to as Kabbalah. Among my Jewish jewelry collection are a hamsa hand necklace, a hamsa bracelet, and hamsa earrings (a hamsa is a palm shaped amulet that is supposed to offer protection).
I will try to receive the Torah in a new way and make my covenant with G-D by learning about Torah concepts that I do not yet know and opening my heart to new lessons. Judaism is rich with an array of teachings on the human condition, including topics such as morality, love, kindness, healing, and growth. Perhaps by delving into these subjects I can work toward becoming a better Jew and a better human being.
I will also strive to remind myself each day that Torah and Judaism are at the center of my life. At times, I do this simply by wearing judaica jewelry. Putting on my Star of David necklace reminds me that I’m a proud Jew and committed to my people. My mezuzah jewelry reminds me of my connection to G-D and my Judaism. And lastly, my chai jewelry is symbolic of Torah, because the Torah is compared to the tree of life. This will be the most appropriate Jewish jewelry to wear on Shavuot.
Wishing you and yours a happy Shavuot—may you receive the Torah with joy and sincerity!