Our seven weeks of counting up from Pesach to Shavuot are nearly at an end. Shavuot, the holiday upon which our Israelite ancestors received Torah at Sinai will arrive at sundown on Sunday, May 16th. One of the practices of the holiday is to stay up all night studying Torah, in preparation for the holiday. Our Israelite ancestors went through rigorous preparations before the thunderous light show of revelation at Sinai; so, too, are we invited to step outside of our usual patterns in preparation.
If you are reading this you are likely the parent of a small child, and staying up all night to study Torah, or even to do something more categorically fun, probably sounds like the worst thing ever.
Torah, as a concept, is far broader than the Five Books of Moses. Torah shares the same root letters as the verb L’hora, to teach. We teach our own Torah, our own lessons, our own insights, when we tell our stories. Just like the maggid (story telling) section of the Pesach seder, this holiday invites us to open up our repositories of learning. Have you shared your oldest memories with your children? Stories of how you learned big lessons, or small ones? Tales of adventure, or sorrow? Shavuot is an invitation to do just that and more. Maybe your family creates a “scroll,” of what this year has looked like and felt like. Or perhaps you recreate moments of your lives together in your imaginative play time.
Torah is yours, and nobody knows your children like you do, so there is no wrong way to do this. Share stories that you think will resonate. Let the spirit of revelation, that which is revealed, encourage your creativity in teaching your children about their roots; the ones they cannot see, and reminding them of the ones which they can.