Tuesday, December 10, 2019 -
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Find your (uni) verse: A Shavuot game

Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt“Step” programs are proliferating. First there was the twelve step program; a couple of weeks ago we told you about the seven steps to happiness; and this week it’s the five step program, in preparation for Shavuot. Surprisingly none of the five steps have to do with cheesecake. Turns out that Shavuot is about a lot more than dairy. We knew that of course, although sometimes it can be difficult to remember amid all the sugar and cream cheese scarfing.

This Friday’s IJN will have lots of recipes (check back tomorrow for a sneak peek), but last week’s focused more on the spiritual aspects of this multi-faceted holiday. In addition to being an agricultural festival celebrating the first harvest, Shavuot commemorates matan Torah, when the Jews received G-d’s word at Sinai. In many ways, Shavuot is when the Israelites became a true nation, with a shared heritage and identity. Dasie Berkowitz shared her five-step program for experiencing the Revelation, a whimsical approach to discovering your personal connection to the Torah. She calls it “Find Your (Uni) Verse.”

Step 1: Open the Torah.

Step 2: Randomly point to a verse.

Step 3: Read the verse a few times. The first is to understand the plain meaning. The second and thir to play with different interpretations. You may want to pull out a commentary, such as Rashi, for this.

Step 4: Consider a lesson you might learn from the verse. What wisdom may it impart?

Step 5: Try to apply the lesson to your life in the coming weeks.

Berkowitz says that, “Even if you don’t think the verse relates to you on face value, sit with it for a while. I promise, you will find some meaning.”

Try it out and let us know!

One thought on “Find your (uni) verse: A Shavuot game

  1. Dang

    It’s just a guess, but I would say that the command to count the days might be in order to instil a spirit of mounting anticipation for the coming celebration. One reason for this might be to emphasize the special importance of Shavuot. From a Christian perspective this would make perfect sense because Shavuot or Pentecost (the Festival of Weeks) marks the birth of the church. The twelve disciples were transformed from a bunch of frightened, uneducated men into powerful apostles who turned the world upside down and gained 3,000 Hebrew converts in a single day. Whatever your faith, I think that anyone would agree, the events of that day 2,000 years ago are still having a massive impact on the world today.


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