As we approach the festival of Shavuos on which we commemorate the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai we need to renew our commitment to Hashem and His divine gift-the Torah.
Our Sages tell us that when the Jews stood around the mountain and experienced the Divine Revelation, Hashem uprooted the mountain, held it over their heads and said, “If you accept the Torah, it will be good. If not this will be your burial place!”
The commentaries explain that this wasn’t a punishment that if they wouldn’t accept the Torah. Rather Hashem was demonstrating that without being attached to Torah, our lives have no meaning or value. As we view our society engaged in the meaningless pursuit of empty pleasures and living lives with no real direction we must remember that it is the Torah and our closeness to Hashem that gives us real joy and meaning in this world and eternal reward in the next world!
The Rabbis describe in a parable that a person without Torah is like a “fish out of water!”
Why did they specifically choose this example? The explanation is that if you’ve ever seen a fish that was pulled out of the water it seems to be full of life. It thrashes wildly and flops all over the place. However it’s obvious to any observer that the fish is in it’s death throes when pulled out of it’s natural environment. It is the same without Torah. People seem to be enjoying their lives as they seek more extreme ways of entertaining themselves but the truth is that it’s the empty pit inside them which is craving to be filled with real substance and not just fleeting thrills.
When we come to the realization that our family lives, professions and every other area are much more successful and meaningful when guided by the Torah we will be inspired to reach great heights!
By Rabbi Sharaga Thav