Leah’s Blog – May 30th 2017 – Shavuot
For me Shavuot is a threshing floor. The Temple Mount is even more than that, paralleling our Avot who came way before Moshe Rabbeinu or David HaMelech. For Avraham it was a hill- the mount he saw from afar early in the morning- For Isaac it was a field- the place he was praying in the afternoon, and for Yaakov it was a house- Hashem told him not to fear the night and that the whole house of Israel would be fashioned out of it. Shavuot in ancient times was the festival of the first fruits and bread made from the first grains. Wheat barley grapes figs pomegranates olives and dates all were carried up to the Temple Mount. The setting: golden fields all around- the city adorned in white and gold. Chazal teach us that Shavuot was the day Moshe Rabbeinu was actually lifted up out of the Nile by Bitya Bat Pharoh. She saved him and in essence he saved our nation. Way before he actually demanded to “Let My People Go” he was saving his fellow man. The Midrash tells also about his acute sensitivity for others, even a lost goat that strayed from the flock. The kindness shown to him was an imprint for his own mission- teaching kindness- the Torah in a nutshell.
Shavuot in most schools in America and other places in the diaspora is taught only as Chag Matan Torah. Unfortunately, they do not focus on the agricultural aspects of holiday as we do in Eretz Yisrael. Even on Mount Sinai the portions dealing with the actual giving of the Torah- all of them pertain to the agricultural laws of Shemitah and tithing. At best there is a leaning in to the story of Ruth that gives us a taste of the fields and the love and care the convert Ruth showers upon her destitute mother in law by never leaving her going out to collect the wheat stalks to pull together some kind of livelihood from the tithed fields to sustain them both. In contrast to Moav where she came from, where that nation was known for its stinginess and history of making life hard for Israel and not allowing them even a drink when traveling through that land, she is thoughtful and full of chesed. They are gleaning on the back roads of Bethlehem, with Jerusalem just beyond that horizon but still too early….Beit Lechem-literally meaning The House of Bread – (Shavuot the only time really bread is offered as most of the year the show bread are matzot) becomes the place of refuge but also the breeding ground for the story of Kingship as the seeds of the Mashiach are sown right there .After all of her actions Ruth lays down to rest on the threshing floor. She can count on Boaz’s dependability, becoming a vessel for the times to come of sovereignty in the Land and a King, preparing the ground for Malchut .Shavuot is the birthday and day of passing of King David, their progeny- the Malchut of the Malchut just counted in the end of the Omer. David wins all battles and then comes to buy the threshing floor from the Jebusites, the same place that is a mount and a field becomes the house of Hashem.
Way before all of that though, after the Exodus, in the desert, the giving of the Torah brought great anticipation for the nation of Israel. This was the blueprint of how to act upon entering Hashem’s home and what to offer in Hashem’s house. This unequivocally meant that they knew they were headed to a place of community and appreciation of the Land. When they did reach it they had the broiling hot sun for their crown and work clothes for their garments, spending hours days and years clearing stones, raking, fertilizing and planting. Large holes were dug and lots of ditches. Fences had to go up and three years of hard, hard work- then -only orlah. The forth year- Neta Revay. When the fifth year came around and the fruit full and beautiful hung on the trees. It was carried up to Yerushalayim in ornate baskets in a procession of parading pilgrims in the times of the Temple. (and before that the Mishkan) Offered up there in the house of Hashem in the Land of Hashem, thanks were given for all goodness bestowed upon us in the mystical yet practical Land. It was a Thanksgiving Day of the lovingkindness Hashem bestowed. Shavuot was like a wedding ceremony as we gave recognition to the very beginning of our forefathers and then to our exodus beginning with the release of Moshe Rabbeinu and our own release of years of being shackled in a cruel land- not our own. We were a nation refined. We had to be sifted again and again and again like the grain.
Before something can be offered up, we go back to that primordial place to the first people that brought us to where we are today. Rashi brings down that the highest level of flour that was sifted to the point where the ikkar fell away from the tafel- only then- that was made into the Temple bread finally. This in essence is the rectification of the sin of the spies that we will reading from the Torah portion a few weeks. They thought it was a land that ate its inhabitants frightened by the above nature proportion of the fruits of the Land not internalizing that that it was a Land that FED its inhabitants.- Today here in Israel we all try to reach the “fine flour” level in our souls knowing and believing in the goodness of the Torah and the Land- two inseparable things. We now too are going through a refining process but thankfully are entering a whole new era G-d willing of Malchut and recognition of the Temple and its life source to us and all of mankind. Never before has there been a massive desire to go up to the place of the Temple mount where Hashem’s house once stood and will soon again stand. We are all prayers here that schools in the diaspora again will teach about the soul – body connection of Am Yisrael to her Land- the true zeevug of love and kindness.
Here on Itamar we are trying hard with kind to the earth methods of organic agriculture to go back to the old ways of serving Hashem through preserving this precious Land. The farmers of Itamar strive to make the connect between the Torah and Hashem by keeping all the laws of shmitah terumah maaser peyah and more. We have been blessed with seeing the actual topography of the land change before our very eyes in the great chesed Hashem has done by bringing us home. As I always like to bring testimony- a good testimony of “The Land is good- very good!” We have seen it turn greener and the climate softer. Of course this means that it also entails lots of hard hard work as Hashem does this for us. If you can’t for any reason be here right now- Please partner with us as every hole dug literally needs a camera system so that the saplings aren’t ripped out by the enemy who want nothing more than to abort all connection of His Divine plan for prophesy to come true here. There are ground breaking projects going on like the installation of pools of water for wading for hikers and their upkeep that all require tremendous resources. For every field prepared there are expenses of watering systems and more that need your lovingkindness, a true understanding of Torah -to match. Toda Raba Raba- Chag Sameyach!