Shavuot – The arrival of the Torah

I must apologize for the length of time between my last post and now.  I started this blog for 3 reasons:

  1. To help me by means of a manual outlet to express my views about God while still searching and seeking a closer understanding of the various paths.
  2. To find a path that works for me, should one exist.
  3. To share the experience with all of you.

I grew up a Christian and the tenets of that faith were what I followed for most of my childhood.  As I grew up I had a serious problem with the entire concept of the Almighty diminishing himself in human form to sacrifice himself in order to wash away all sin.  The problem to me is the whole doctrine of irresponsibility of the Christian faith.  Now, rather than go on an anti-Christian rant I will continue the story. .. I rejected all revealed religion and detested the mere concept of organized religion in general.  Then I became a Freemason and began to read some really amazing books and learn things I’d never even imagined.  A lot of Freemasonry finds its origin in the Judeo-Christian Bible and the Kabbalah.  Since I was a Christian, and went to well over a decade of Bible Study classes, I assumed I knew the Bible already and so I took an interest in the Kabbalah.  As I started my Kabbalah journey I found many references to the Torah and it became clear that in order to really grasp the true Kabbalah (not the Madonna red string nonsense) you needed to first master the Torah.  I then found out the study of the Torah in Judaism is significantly different to the “Old Testament” presented in Christianity (for my Christian friends that may not know, the Torah is the first 5 books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). 

So I  began studying Torah and after a distracting intermission where I reread The Age of Reason (which while interesting and inflammatory, completely misses the fact that much of the Torah and the rest of the Bible is allegory) I have been studying the Torah every day now for the last few months and it is without a doubt the most enlightening and rewarding experience my mind has ever had.   I am hooked.  The Torah, Talmud, the Midrash, and the rest of the Holy Scriptures of Judaism have me pretty convinced that my path is already paved and all I needed was the right map.  I continue to study the Torah every night using various rabbinic commentaries and I can honestly say that I learn something new every day and that I have never been more motivated to be a better person than when I read It.

Today starts a very critical holiday in the Jewish year.  It is Shavuot.  It should be an important day for Christians and Muslims as well as it is the celebration of the giving of the Torah.  It is a unarguable fact that the world changed when the Torah was received and while 3 faiths have derived from it, the Torah itself remains unchanged and still very relevant.

As is the custom for this day, I will write the Decalogue or 10 Commandments that sum up the Torah in the most simple yet sublime way:

  1. I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
  3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

The first 3 commandments can be summed into “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength” and the last 7 can summed up as “Love your neighbor as yourself”.  

Using this as a foundation, can you imagine the way the world would be?   If we didn’t revolve our lives around money, there would be no greed and no poverty.  Imagine a world without broken promises, where fathers and mothers set work aside to spend with their children.  Imagine a world where everyone respects life and you never have to fear for your own safety.  Imagine a society built on trust and honor.

The Torah states that these rules were etched into stone by the hand of God.  The tablets are now lost but, the words are not and they should be written in our minds and inscribed in our hearts. 

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light