This week we begin the Book of Exodus. The first portion is one of transformation – the children of Israel, the family of Jacob, become the “Hebrews” and the Children of Israel, with a national focus.
This week we celebrated Shavuot, my personal favorite holiday of the Jewish year. While the Bible references this holiday as the Festival of First Fruits, on this holiday we also commemorate receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. In fact, since our exile from the Land of Israel nearly 2,000 years ago and our separation from the Biblical harvests, this aspect of the holiday has become its central theme.