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Shavuot: The Ritual of Studying Late into the Night

05/01/2023 10:26:15 AM

May1

Rabbi Ezray

Those who have joined us on Shavuot as we observe the ritual of studying late into the night as a way of re-enacting receiving Torah know the magic and mystery that occurs when we gather for this sacred night.

In this article, I would like to explore the power of ritual to transform. In his book Yearnings, Irwin Kula writes: “Rituals bring us deep into our psyches, beyond common sense.”  He is correct; studying together on Shavuot connects to a spot in our soul linking us to the past in mystical ways; all our ancestors stood at Sinai and received Torah in their own capacity. We connect to each of those people. And similarly, over the years, different people have discovered pieces of essence and ethics through study; engaging with text late into the night connects us with those ancestors as well.

Kula continues: “Ritual reminds us who we are (or how much we are) and where we came from. They enact, express and renew our relationships, whether to family, community, culture, cosmos or God….They confirm the deepest parts of who we are and disrupt our surface selves, inviting us to shed our veils and pretenses, our everyday armor, to renew and deepen our identities and connection to the world. They can weld a community, creating a kind of social magic that solidifies a group. Rituals also can open up new ways of thinking and being in our individual lives.”

This is what studying together on Shavuot can do! I love when we study together.  As we learn from one another we truly do discover pieces of ourselves and who we might be. We connect to one another in ways that create powerful bonds.

Come and be part of the magic of the ritual of study together. Shavuot this year will begin at 7:30 pm on Thursday, May 25.
 

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