07 June 2019

Shavuos – The Quiet of the Night

THE QUIET OF THE NIGHT
By Roy S. Neuberger

I admit it. My favorite of all the Megilas is Rus. The language is simple, even spare, the essence of understatement. “And it happened in the days when the judges judged, that there was a famine in the land, and a man went ….”

What could be simpler? And yet, within these quiet and plain words a drumbeat can be heard, the drumbeat of eternity, the footsteps of Moshiach and the establishment of the eternal monarchy of Israel. One has to listen, but it is there. Maybe that’s one reason we do not sleep Shavuos, because the night is quiet and one can hear things one cannot hear during the day.

“In the middle of the night, the man was startled and turned about … and behold! There was a woman lying at his feet.” (Rus 3:8)

Dovid Hamelech absorbed the wisdom which can be accessed in the quiet of the night. “When Dovid ate a royal repast, he ate until evening, slept until midnight and then rose and studied Torah.” (Eicha Rabbasi 2:64) “Until midnight, he would doze [for short periods) …. Thereafter, he would strengthen himself like a lion. [Rav Ashi said:] Until midnight he was engaged in Torah study; thereafter in songs and praises….” (Berachos 3b)

Whenever we need spiritual sustenance, we open Sefer Tehillim. What is it about this Book that sustains our neshoma? What draws us so powerfully to Dovid? 

“Sent away from his home, a pariah in the community at large, David found rich pasture and clear, flowing water for his soul, which thirsted for G-d, in the wilderness to which he fled. There, where no one knew him or saw him, he sought to draw close to Hashem….” (Book of Our Heritage)

Dovid had no place for sham or hypocrisy. He wanted only closeness to the Ribono shel Olam. “Achas shoalti … one thing I asked of Hashem, that shall I seek: that I dwell in the House of Hashem all the days of my life…” (Tehillim 27)

Are we not filled to the brim with the noise, the PR, the emptiness of the world around us? I believe many sensitive people would like to flee to the wilderness like Dovid, and speak to Hashem without distraction.

Har Sinai is alone in the wilderness. It is the place to which we now arrive after seven weeks of struggling upward from thetumah of Mitzraim. “Arise and depart from amid the upheaval. Too long have you dwelt in the valley of weeping …. Shake off the dust. Arise!” (Lecha Dodi)

We want to be like Dovid. We to be real! We want to learn from his life. We want to call out as he does: “Ana Hashem Hoshia na … Please Hashem save now … Ana Hashem hatzlicha na … Please Hashem bring success now!” (Tehillim 118)

Dovid is the embodiment of Shavuos. Not only is it the day of his birth, but he came from Moav the way Am Yisroel came from Mitzraim“Min hamaitzar … from the straits I called upon G-d!” (ibid) Dovid never pretended to be anything other than himself. He worked on himself in truth and passion until Hashem appointed him king over Israel.

May Hashem send Moshiach ben Dovid, his descendant, soon in our days!


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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2019 by Roy S. Neuberger

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