Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Not Your Ordinary Joe

Rav Yosef said, “if not for this day, there would be many Joes in the street.” Talmud Pesachim 68b
This passage was said by one of the prominent Talmudic sages, Rav Yosef, in describing the joy of Shavuos, the anniversary of the transmission of the Torah from
G-d to the Jewish people. He was referring to himself as a changed man for the study of Torah transformed him from an ordinary Joe into a scholar and sage. The study of Torah has a transformative effect on a person as its embedded spirituality penetrates the soul. This can lead a person to inner happiness as the individual becomes connected to their mission in this world. King David writes in Tehillim/Psalms, “the Torah of G-d is complete, and it restores your soul”. The Torah, in essence, is far more than just a section of text to study, it provides us with the means to find meaning and purpose in life in an increasingly confusing world. Reflecting on this can cause a person to realize how fortunate one is to be a student of the Torah.
These were some of the thoughts going through my mind as we proudly marched the new Ackerman Sefer Torah to its new home at our beloved shul. There were a couple of hundred people that accompanied the Torah amidst much song and festivity on a beautiful Sunday morning down San Jose Blvd. Some curious bystanders may have been wondering what exactly people were so happy about. It goes far beyond having a new Torah to read from on Shabbos. It was a celebration of recognizing the Torah as a central part of our lives. There are a few Aha moments in life. I think of those moments that bring us clarity to what direction we should travel in the journey of life. Those moments shed some light on why we sometimes are engaged in so many challenging aspects of our faith. This past Sunday, on a chilly morning in January, there was a proud community that not only marched a Torah into its new home. This was a community that had an important Aha moment.

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