Would you prefer to receive a great inheritance as a gift or to earn your way on your own?
Most of us would probably prefer the former, but our pride would cause us to answer the latter.
Indeed, an argument can be made both ways. On one hand, take the gift and use your effort and time to achieve other goals. On the other hand, the Talmud says “a person would rather a single measure of his own than nine measures of his fellow’s.”
The same question can be asked about an ideology and way of life: Is it better to follow a heritage and tradition – a path forged by those that came before us, but one that is time-tested and proven, or to follow your own unique voice and individuality, which has its risks, but is driven by your personal passions and interests. Would you rather be a conformist and take the safe route, or be a pioneer and take the road less traveled?
Would you believe that you can actually have both – the benefits of both the gift (quantity) and the effort (quality); the virtues of both an established model coupled with your personal touch?
The formula to achieve this synthesis was given to us 3330 years ago at Sinai.
Tonight begins Shavuot, the celebration of the giving of the Torah to each and every one of us. We know that the Torah is our inheritance and heritage – one passed on to us in a 3330-year unbroken chain. But how many of us are aware that the Torah is personally given to them by G-d on this very day? We may be familiar with the laws and commandments we are expected to follow, but how many feel the personal relevance of the Torah to our lives today?
We can appreciate this formula by demystifying a mysterious day leading up to Shavuot referred to as Yom Hameyuchos, the “connected” day, or day of “lineage.”
A luxurious and four-walled analogy from the Holy Ruzhiner explaining the meaning of this day teaches us how Torah and Judaism is the most personally-earned and most inherited, most eternal and most contemporary experience a person could ever have.