Humbled, not Overwhelmed

Thursday, 28 May, 2020 - 3:38 am

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friends,

This evening the holiday of Shavuot begins. Shavuot is the season of "the giving of our Torah".

This year commemorates 3,332 years since the revelation and Sinai and the giving of the Torah.

Our sages teach us that the giving and receiving of the Torah takes place again spiritually every year. 

The Torah was given in the desert a place where there is no ownership to remind every Jew of their equal access to the Torah. 

The desert is a place which is "unplanted" this reminds us that in order to truly study Torah, the word of Hashem, we must have a humble approach, like a barren land waiting to be planted. 

If we study Torah while we are blossoming with our own prior knowledge, we may study the Torah with a subjective approach and not be proper vessels for the word of Hashem. 

Up to this point in this article I have copied and pasted from the youngest sibling in our family, Rabbi Yaakov Kantor of Chabad Lugano Switzerland.

I read the words and they jumped out at me as being so true. His style is to say deep things in few words. 

I enjoyed his thoughts and found them so pertinent. Especially the part about being humble.

Humbled is a better word than overwhelmed. 

Overwhelmed comes together with anxiety because we are not in control.

Humility allows us to invite knew knowledge and deeper appreciation of G-d into our beings.

The mountain of Sinai was a small mountain.

The greatest gift and revelation of all times was not given on the tallest mountain of all. 

Arrogance can never be a vessel for true blessing. When you are full, you have no room to receive. 


Not worthlessness. 

A mountain, not a valley. 

But a ‘humble’ small mountain. 

Our world is in a state of humbleness. 

Should you be overwhelmed? 

Not at all. 


G-d forbid!

Open to change. Yes. 

At this time so many of us are looking for direction and redefinition. 

Praying and hoping to emerge from our lockdowns into a ‘new normal’ that is kinder, friendlier, and more altruistic.

The Torah defines to us what ‘normal’ should be. The Torah defines for us what true morality is. To be liberated is not to do whatever you feel like. 

Liberty is to live a life of meaning and purpose. 

The first words of the Ten Commandments say it all.

“I am G-d who took you out of Egypt”.

The commentaries all ask, why does G-d use Exodus to describe who he is? Wouldn’t it be more impressive to use his credentials of being the creator of heaven and earth?

If you were G-d, what would you write on your ‘name card’? Exodus or creation ex-nihilo?

Click here for the answer in one minute and 19 seconds.

The lesson here is that even though the Torah looks like a web of instructions, restrictions and selflessness, it is all coming from G-d who takes us out of Egypt. 

G-d takes us out of the ‘big’ Egypt, where we were slaves, sweating away with bricks and mortars. 

G-d gave us the Torah to release us from our inner Pharaohs as well.

There is an antidote to our enslavement to our egos, materialistic urges and mindless passing of time.

It is called the TORAH.

In this atmosphere of the search for direction and meaning, the Torah will be received with even more joy and gratefulness.

Most importantly, we are more open to change, than any other year.

Everything around has changed.

Lets take the opportunity to CHANGE as well.

Adopt a new mitzvah to your life.

Strengthen your observance of a mitzvah you are already performing.

Add some Torah study to your schedule.

Intensify your acts of charity!!!

The Torah teaches that benevolent acts of charity and kindness, tzedakah, are the cornerstone of Judaism.

Chag Sameach,

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

PS Treat yourself to an inspirational story about raw acts of loving kindness and their power in this world and the next.


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