• Rabbi Skorka

Shavuot



This year’s Shavuot will be remembered by all Jews as the one in which the State of Israel faced a cunning attack by the terrorist organization, Hamas. Israel’s military planned and executed an operation that was called Shomrei Hachomot, “the guards of the walls" (of the holy city), as opposed to the terrorist operation’s which was called: M´arkat Saif Al-Kuds, “the sword fight of the holy city”. The capital of Israel was the first epicenter of the conflict, so the name of the operation is related to it.


Shavuot is the celebration of the giving of the Torah. The sages of the Talmud established which behaviors must be adopted to promote "the ways of peace" (m. Shevi'it 5: 9; m. Gittin 5: 8; etc.). They concluded that G-d gave the Torah to the people of Israel so that they could teach others the paths that lead to peace (b. Guittin 59b). The culmination of the famous priestly blessing has the word peace at the end (Numbers 6:26), as well as the last blessing of the Amida, which is central in Jewish prayers that is recited every day.


The State of Israel, since its foundation, has always had as a cherished desire to have peace and harmony with all its neighbors. All those who were involved to establish the State decreed that all its inhabitants, without any distinction, have equal rights and obligations, and as a result constituted a state in which a full democracy reigns, as can be read in the declaration of independence.


Unfortunately, up till now all the efforts to achieve peace have not been successful. There are those who try to maintain the hatred and conflict in order to avoid any possibility of a peace agreement. They are the ones who extend a sword of destruction over Jerusalem, but there are those who diligently defended its walls in the past, continue to do so today.


Zechariah (8: 3-5) foretold a time when old men and women, who will watch (whilst holding their sticks due to their advanced ages) boys and girls happily playing in the streets of Zion. Also the prophet Joel (4:20) affirmed that Judea will remain forever and Jerusalem for future generations.


For thousands of years, the Jewish people have carried these premonitions with them as watched they materialise into reality. The Torah was given to us by God at Mount Sinai, but according to Isaiah (2: 2-4) its last destination is Jerusalem, and there its messages will shine for all eternity, because a reality of peace will be reached for all humanity.


The Jewish people carry this dream closely to their hearts and have unconditional hope that it will so come true.


Wishing you all a Chag Sameach and Happy Shavuot.