Resource Category: Shavuot

Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, a momentary pause for the Jewish people between the chaos of the Exodus and their journey to freedom in the promised land. This reminds us that while growth and recovery are long journeys, to progress appropriately, we need to take time to pause, rest and reflect on how far we have come and where we are going. Thus on Shavuot, we encourage you to pause and reflect on how far you have come, how you are doing and where you are going on your road to mental wellness.

By Rabbi Steven Gotlib | Beginning on the second night of Passover and extending until Shavuot, many Jews count the Omer. For 49 days, Judaism maintains a special awareness of time — even for a religion that, as Abraham Joshua Heschel described, constructs a sanctuary of time each week in marking the Sabbath. But what exactly makes these 49 days between Passover and Shavuot so special?
The Talmud (Shavuot 39a) teaches that members of the Jewish community are responsible for each other. In simple terms, we are interconnected and must be invested in the mental wellness and overall well-being of everyone. We must be willing, informed and prepared to help one another, because we all benefit. Ruth was committed to caring for Naomi; recognizing that Naomi was facing hardship, Ruth dedicated herself to her care, honoring the web of interdependence woven between them and, in a similar way, among Jews everywhere. Beyond the idea that all Jews are responsible for one another (kol Yisrael arevim zeh la zeh), the rabbis teach the value of supporting another person (Pirkei Avot 6:6).
On Shavuot, as we celebrate our nations’ acceptance of the Torah once again, one may wonder why this Holiday is necessary to begin with: Have we not already received the Torah? Why do we recall Matan Torah again year after year? Through working with individuals in addiction recovery, we have gained a new understanding of the value of ongoing re-dedication, and to what it looks like to authentically live and breathe one’s set of core spiritual principles. Here are 3 lessons that we have gleaned from working with those in treatment/recovery that can be carried into this Holiday.