Infant tongues testify to Your strength,
In spite of Your adversaries
Even thus do You silence Your enemies.
MidrashA rabbinic method of interpreting text, often through the telling of stories. on Psalm 8:4 • derived from “The Greatest Jewish Stories Ever Told”
The mixed multitude of the people of IsraelLit. ''the one who struggles with God.'' Israel means many things. It is first used with reference to Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel (Genesis 32:29), the one who struggles with God. Jacob's children, the Jewish people, become B'nai Israel, the children of Israel. The name also refers to the land of Israel and the State of Israel., having been liberated from that narrow place—MitzrayimLit. Egypt. Because the Hebrew word for narrow is tzar, Mitzrayim is also understood as "narrowness," as in, the narrow and confining places in life from which one emerges physically and spiritually.—were gathered bamidbar, in the wilderness, at the bottom of Mount SinaiAccording to the Torah, God, in the presence of the Jewish people, gave Moses the Torah on Mount Sinai (Har Sinai). to receive the TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general..
The Holy One wanted nothing more than to entrust these beloved people with the perfect gift, a treasure for all time—the Torah. So precious was this gift, The Holy One wanted to make sure that the Israelites would understand how important a gift this was…and use it and cherish it and live by it for all time.
So G!d asks for a surety. Their guarantee.
The people of Israel can’t imagine what they could possibly give to G!d for this most precious gift… After staying up all night long, they finally find the answer. Their only surety must be their most precious gift in this world… their children.
And at that very moment in time, G!d pours out the Torah into their little ones.
“Out of your mouths, my little ones, have I given the Torah to all the people Israel and to all the world! As they live by it, so shall you live, and as you live, so shall the world remain alive!”
ErevLit. Evening Jewish holidays begin in the evening. Hence, Erev Shabbat is the eve of the Sabbath. ShavuotShavuot is the holiday fifty days after Passover and commemorates when the Israelite liberation from Egypt culminates with the giving of the Torah. Traditionally, Jews study in an all-night study session, eat dairy products (one interpretation is that the Torah is like milk to us), and read both the Ten Commandments and the Book of Ruth.
And a wise friend of mine replied: “Maybe what this all means is that our children have more faith in the future than we have.”
We’re commiserating about the back-breaking burdens of our children’s transition to adulthood.
It’s the week before Shavuot. My husband is deployed across the other side of the world. My 21-year old, Hal, decides now is the time to move into his own apartment. We’re battling every day.
I hear myself saying things like: “Right now all you have to worry about is saving money and getting yourself into a car.” “You have a roof over your head, food to eat, and transportation.” “How are you going to be able to afford the apartment, the security deposit, the utilities, the food, the car, the insurance.” “Do you know what a risk this is.” “What happens if you don’t find a full-time job or income to support this.”
And he’s looking at me like I’m his enslaver. I’m his Mitzrayim… his narrow place.
I call my parents in hysterics… like 3,000 miles away they can do something!? Actually they do. My dad calms me down… and says, “Look at this as a good thing. If he’s pushing for independence this hard then he must be ready. Pack him a sandwich!”
My friend calls it launching a child.
As a grownup I like to see all the “ducks” in order before making choices.
Get a full-time job
Get a car
Get a better year-round job
Save more money
Have the security deposit for rent
Have a “cushion” for furniture
Figure it all out later.
Invite friends to share the apartment with me. No, they don’t have jobs… yet.
Hope it works out.
Continue to borrow my mother’s car.
Take the old furniture in our house.
Why is my mom screaming at me?
And I was thinking: How profound, especially counting down to Shavuot. They say G!d sends us children to teach us the lessons that we refuse to learn as adults.
A shehecheyanu moment in time. We wouldn’t have made it to this day if it hadn’t been for that hopeful optimistic view that it will work out no matter what. We appreciate and celebrate these moments. Our people know how to embrace the unknown. MiriamMiriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron. As Moses' and Aaron's sister she, according to midrash, prophesies Moses' role and helps secure it by watching over the young baby, seeing to it that Pharaoh's daughter takes him and that the baby is returned to his mother for nursing. During the Israelites' trek through the desert, a magical well given on her behalf travels with the Israelites, providing water, healing, and sustenance. took her tambourine. Nachson ben Aminadav took that first jump into the sea, which made me think that the folks who were up front journeying from Mitzrayim through bamidbar must have been in their 20s!
Because as my wise friend said: “Maybe what this all means is that our children have more faith in the future than we have.”
A truth this Erev Shavuot, I have had to relearn.