- To help me think these through, does anyone have any particular key idea on them?
- What will others be doing, study wise during this festival?
- Is it right to always follow tradition for its own sake?
- If you are not Jewish, how do study you own holy scripture?
- Is it communal or individual? And where and when do you do so?
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Tikkun Leil Shavuot
"I prefer your Torah to thousands of gold and silver pieces" (Psalm 119)
"I have invested my very essence in writing" [The Torah] (Shabbat 105a)
David has asked us to post on themes related to Shavout, which starts next week. One thing I want to comment on is Tikkun Leil Shavuot, that is the tradition of staying up all night to study the Torah. To some this can seem like a strange tradition, especially as it goes back no further than the 16th century. But as with any tradition, if applied in a certain spirit it can be a wonderful experience. One year I tried- and failed- to read through the whole Torah during the night. I think I learnt a lesson there, namely, that quality study is better than quantity study. I also think that it is, like, so easy to become ensnared in mindless ritual and that is not what G-d wants of us. If reading through the whole Torah floats your boat, so be it, but it wasn't for me.
In our house, after we have had our festive meal on Tuesday night, we indeed to do Torah study. There will the rest of us who live here and 2 other guests, so 7 in total. . All of us are going to write out and talk about a particular word of Torah; be it a passage, a reflection on a Bible character or a particular theme. As we have 2 non Jewish (neither have any religious affiliation, but like living in a Jewish household & our festivities) housemates and those of us who are Jews come from different traditions, it should be an enlightening experience. On the second day we've agreed is that we are going to discuss/study the Ten Commandments and the book of Ruth, which are traditional readings for this festival.
I love Torah; her divinity, her soul, her meaning and her message, which draws us close to G-d, helps us in life, guides our ethics, makes us ,questions us and gives us so much more. I struggle with some of it, clearly, but I don't think I could abandon it. I wish to grow and learn more Torah as the years go by. The passages I have chosen to present on Genesis chapters 1 & 2, along with Psalm 23. I hope to put these reflections up next week.
I'll leave you all with questions for thought :