Dear Aish Family,

I am writing this note to you from a hectic Jerusalem where everyone is busy preparing for the upcoming Shavuos (Pentecost) holiday. This holiday is in many ways truly an Aish holiday. Jews around the world will be “pulling an all-nighter” on Saturday night studying Torah. It stems from our unquestioning acceptance from the Almighty of the gift of the Torah. Once we received the Torah, we needed to see what an amazing life document it was, so we stay up all night to delve into its beauty.

It is always this time of year that I recall a story that happened about 25 years ago. At the time I was working with Jewish teens in many Midwest States and we decided we would all come together to Pittsburgh, PA to stay up all night learning.

One of the participants lived in Charleston, West Virginia. She tried to figure out how to get to Pittsburgh for the holiday but she could not miss too much school for travel. Alas, she would be alone in Charleston for Shavuos and not be able to attend Torah classes all night.

A friend of this young woman felt very bad about her situation so they went down to the local Jewish book store and purchased a number of Jewish books. They then wrote a series of letters to be read throughout the night by this young woman. Each letter had a specific hour written on it and inside were words of encouragement. They then packed up the books and letters in a box and shipped them to Charleston.

The young woman received the box and stayed up all night by herself studying Torah. She said that although physically she was alone she knew that spiritually she was together with her Jewish brothers and sisters around the world.

I have always been moved by this story. Imagine if all of us purchased one Jewish book and gave it to a Jewish friend to study. What an impact that would have! These types of initiatives really connect us as a people.

I want to close by asking all of you to do something for me. Shortly before Rav Noach Weinberg’s death he recorded a talk about Shavuos. Here is a 2 minute clip from that speech. I have shown it to so many people. Few have watched it without tears. Our founder and master teacher sums up our Jewish mission in 2 minutes better than we ever could in a lifetime.

My friends, this Saturday night let us study the Almighty’s Torah with an open heart and a passionate soul. Let us remember all of our Jewish brothers and sisters who are not yet acquainted with our wisdom. Let us hope and pray that this year the Jewish nation comes together in love and unity.

Shabbat Shalom!

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