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It's Not So Simple

Friday, 7 June, 2019 - 10:09 am

Imagine the scene of several million, recently-liberated slaves gathering at Mount Sinai. They’ve experienced incredible miracles during their Exodus from Egypt, and for seven weeks they’ve been refining themselves – under Moses’ tutelage – in order to receive the Gift of all Gifts: The Torah.
Now, the moment arrives. The world goes quiet. Even the animals seem to be holding their breaths. Finally, the Creator of the Universe speaks to humankind. 
“Do Not Murder!” “Do not bear false witness!” Ten Commandments which are all pretty simple concepts. 
Can you imagine the people scratching their heads, saying “So THIS is the big deal?” 
It must have all seemed too elementary. Which is actually the point.
The Torah is an infinitely-deep reservoir of wondrous messages. Many of them mystical and sublime. But the Torah’s primary message is about making life, regular day-to-day life: Holy.
We instinctively focus on what we want out of life. Torah guides us to consider what life wants out of us, which is to make it meaningful. We do that by living with G-d-consciousness, searching for meaning in the things we do, and for opportunities to better the world.

Which brings us to “Do Not Murder,” etc.
G-d put ‘no-brainers’ into the Torah to teach us that there’s no such thing as a ‘no-brainer’. A ‘no-brainer’ means there’s no need for conscious choice. But we should always be consciously choosing a moral direction, and not just following our instincts.

Life is about serving Higher Purpose, not ourselves. If I refrain from hurting my neighbor because I believe it’s wrong, then I am serving MY value system. When I submit to the fact that G-D says it’s wrong (aside from my good instincts), then I am submitting to a life of Divine direction.
Good instincts are a great thing to have, but without G-d/responsibility consciousness our actions are missing more than a brain; they’re missing a soul.

That’s what G-d taught us at Sinai: Do good, because it fulfills your purpose in creation, not just because it feels right.

Saturday night, we begin the Holiday of Shavuot, and commemorate receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. We relive the lessons of Sinai. At services, we actually read the narrative, and the Ten Commandments themselves, from the Torah.

We’ll have services on Sunday morning at 9:30am (Torah reading around 10:30am), and a second reading at 5pm, followed by a dairy dinner and ice cream party.

Please come by. Bring the kids, bring your friends.

It’s time to appreciate – and celebrate - the significance to be found in the simple.

See you there!

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