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Getting up close and personal with Hashem

Friday, 27 May, 2011 - 1:06 pm

The season of the giving of the Torah is upon us. Shavuot is less than two weeks away. Our holidays are not meant to be observed as commemorations of history, but rather as a reliving of the events that took place on that particular day.

When we consider revelation at Sinai, the Ten Commandments, and all that took place when the Torah was given 3323 years ago, there is a lot to relive and experience once more.

I would like to highlight one aspect that I feel has great relevance for us at all times. The opening words of the Ten Commandments are, Anochi Hashem Elokecha – I am the L-rd your G-d. In Hebrew the word “your” can be rendered in singular form or plural form. The commentators ask why the singular form – “Elokecha” is used here rather than the usual plural form - “Elokeichem.”

One of the explanations for this is, that addressing each Jew as an individual emphasizes the need for each individual to have a personal relationship with Hashem. Hashem is my G-d not just our G-d. This notion of everyone having a personal relationship with Hashem was one the great contributions of the Baal Shemtov to Jewish life. He empowered even the simplest folk by showing them that they could do so. One of the means of experiencing this personal relationship with Hashem is through Tefillah. Tefillah is often defined as prayer. While Tefillah definitely includes praying to Hashem for our needs, the more accurate definition is attachment. Tefillah is a time of bonding with Hashem. When a person utilizes Tefillah in its proper form then it becomes a path for establishing a personal relationship with Hashem. The teachings of Chassidism can help a person enhance the Tefillah experience to where it becomes more meaningful and leads a person toward a personal relationship with Hashem.

Wishing you all a productive period of preparation for receiving the Torah and all that comes with it!

Mazel Tov to Ezra Remer and his entire family who are celebrating his Bar Mitzvah this Shabbos.

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