There is nothing that we would rather be doing than gathering together at our synagogues and study house for Shavuos. In our little shtetl of Pico, the streets on Shavuos night are overflowing. Jews of all backgrounds and ages walk from shul to shul to study Torah, celebrate the holiday, pray, and socialize. It’s very holy and so beautiful. This year, however, we won’t be able to crowd the streets. There will be no packed rooms to squeeze into for amazing classes. We won’t be able to offer our delicious communal Yom Tov meal under the stars.
So how do we celebrate Shavuos this year and still be inspired by it? How can we have that amazing uplifting feeling of our whole community gathering to receive the Torah and celebrate in the age of Coronavirus? To fill in for the communal celebrations, we decided to do a small project from our heart to yours, compiling a Shavuos guide to help us all celebrate the holiday on the highest level possible.
One of the big lessons from this corona-time is that we have to work on developing our relationship with God on a personal level. We are all accustomed to connecting with God and Torah communally, and our personal God-connection has atrophied. As a muscle loses its abilities if it’s not utilized, our personal God-connection “muscles” need spiritual Physical Therapy.
So this year’s Shavuos Guide is designed to help us be inspired and uplifted, and to strengthen our personal God connections. This is a training manual for our souls to be more strongly connected to the Source of all life and to strengthen our faith and devotion to Torah.
We have included background information that outlines the fullness and customs of the holiday. We have provided some creative and traditional Shavuos activities and some of Rebbitzen Rachel’s famous recipes with the stories behind each one. We have also included inspiring Torah, a Community Learning Section a full Prayer and Candle Lighting Guide. Plus some yoga and meditation, poetry, and thought provoking questions.
Print out this guide before Shavuos if you can, and we pray this will help us all strengthen our connections with God.
May the whole world merit the ultimate and complete Redemption quickly in our days!
Good Yom Tov, Chag Sameach
Rabbi Yonah and Rebbitzen Rachel Bookstein
Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5780