On Shavuot, we commemorate the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the Jewish People at Mount Sinai. One of the most dramatic elements of the Sinai experience was when Moshe came down the mountain, for the first time, only to witness his people worshiping a golden calf. Moshe’s immediate reaction was the breaking of the tablets at the foot of the mountain, leaving himself and the entire nation in complete shock. The question, however, must be asked: “Why did Moshe break the tablets?” Was this an appropriate response to the actions of the Jewish People?
This suggests that really Moshe did not intend to break the tablets. Rather, before the sin of the golden calf, the tablets were being carried, so-to-speak, by the holiness contained in the letters. However, the moment the tablets were subjected to the spectacle of the golden calf, the antithesis of everything holy, the letters fell from the tablets, leaving them nothing but slabs of stone. Once the tablets were divested of their meaning, they became too heavy for Moshe to bear, and dropped from his hands.
Similarly, when we divest ourselves of meaning and expose ourselves to those forces that try and bring us down, we become heavy, unable to face the challenges of life. But if we cherish the “letters in our tablets,” our Torah and our values as the guiding forces in our lives, then we will be carried through the ups and downs of life.
To quote Dr. Victor Frankl,”Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.'”
This Shavuot, let us cherish the beauty of life, our Torah, and fulfill the potential instilled in each and every one of us.