THE FIVE SUGGESTIONS
Rabbi Ilan Feldman
We are familiar with the oft repeated statement "G-d did not give us the Ten Suggestions - He gave us the Ten Commandments."
We are familiar with the oft repeated statement "G-d did not give us the Ten Suggestions - He gave us the Ten Commandments." Nevertheless, five suggestions for enhancing our re-acceptance of the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Torah are offered here, in the hope that they will deepen our Shavuot experience.
1) Thou might consider appreciating the Torah. This means recognizing how our quality of life has changed because of the presence of Torah in our life. It includes feeling the truth of the statement we make every morning: Blessed is He who created us for His glory and separated us from those who go astray and gave us a Torah of truth and implanted eternal life in us.
2) Thou might consider developing the attitude of hakarat hatov, acknowledging the good provided for us by others, including Hashem. The commentaries tell us that a fundamental underpinning of our commitment to observance of the Torah is the ability to respond with appreciation to the One who provides us with our needs. "Here," says Hashem, "I have given you so much, now let me see if you are willing to listen to My will."
3) Thou might consider that life with Torah is a constant test. We are always being tested, to allow us to develop new strengths, new levels of awareness of Hashem. When we expect life with Torah to be risk and challenge free, we spend all of our energies evading these inevitable difficulties and fail to accomplish anything. However, when we accept the inevitability and the benefit of being tested, we encounter the trials directly and energetically. Growth in the service of Hashem becomes a regular trait.
4) Thou might consider arming yourself for your encounter with the world. Study Torah. Aside from the benefit of learning more of Hashem's word and reducing unawareness, immersion in the study of the Torah immunizes the individual to the assaults on one's spiritual psyche that are a part of our routine existence.
5) Thou might seek out a Rav. As Ethics of our Fathers suggests, "Make for yourself a teacher" (1:6). This means seeking someone who will sponsor us in the spiritual journey which always develops when Torah is welcomed into one's life. This person will not only help us by providing guidance through the confusing maze that is Jewish growth, but will also represent the concept of authority to us. Which leads us to the Ten Commandments. .
Rabbi Ilan Feldman is spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Jacob in Atlanta.
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