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Shavuot: What Do We Stand For?

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How would you sum up the importance of Shavuot today? Why is Sinai vital to our modern lives? What do we tell our children when asked why they should care about this holiday?

When we look around the Jewish world today, we see that, as a people, we can be divided into three categories: 1) Jews who are fundamentalists, driven primarily by religious observance; 2) Jews who are social activists, driven by humanitarian causes, and 3) Jews who are neither and care about little but their careers and material comforts.

While we tend to condemn the third category, each is missing something – and that something is an overall integrated vision of life. So we are driven to ask: Does Judaism offer us Jews such a vision?

Today, as we celebrate the great Sinai revelation, let us explore what Sinai – and Judaism overall – can contribute to each of us as individuals and to the human race. Because, more than anything else, we need to connect with its vision.

With all the gifts we were blessed with – our freedoms, our prosperity, our high standard of living – we may lack the most important ingredient of all … With all our successes and opportunities, the question, both individually and collectively, lingers: What vision are we committed to?

Having a vision is vital to our existence both as individuals and as a nation. It defines what we stand for, and it fuels what drives us.

This sermon suggests that our vision is clearly spelled out in the Torah which was given to us at Mount Sinai some 3,300 years ago – a vision that is relevant today more than ever. And this vision is neither fundamentalist nor secular, and it is not limited to just Jews.

For the Torah offers the entire universe a vision – a vision of how life can and should be lived to its fullest.

And this vision is the most critical message we can share with our children; one that has the power to pre-empt so many problems.

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