The Festival of Shavuot celebrates the anniversary of the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. The Divine revelation on Mt. Sinai was the most dramatic and spectacular event of Jewish history—the experience that defined us as the Jewish nation. Every year, through the celebration of this festival we reconnect once again to the power of this event by appreciating the value of the precious gift that we received on that day—the Torah.

The Talmud relates that when Moses went to heaven to receive the Torah the angels challenged him claiming that they should be the ones to receive this gift. After all, a doctrine that contains Divine wisdom belongs in heaven where it will be studied with greater depth and appreciated fully. In our defense, Moses replied that the Torah could not be given to them for the following reason. The Torah contains a code of moral and ethical conduct. It can only be given to those that have a "Yetzer Hara" (evil inclination) and are tempted to break that code. Only those that are tempted to steal, commit adultery and lie are worthy of the Torah. This seems a strange argument. Why would G‑d want to give His treasure specifically to those that are tempted to misuse it?

When G‑d decided to part with the Torah, He still wanted it to be used as a tool to generate newnessThe Zohar teaches that the Torah is much more than a book of rules. It is the blueprint of creation, the tool that G‑d used to create a new world and a new existence. When G‑d decided to part with the Torah and give it away, He still wanted it to be used as a creative tool to generate newness. When we use the teachings of the Torah not just as a code of good conduct but as an implement of real change, it is also a form of creation. When we experience real growth, improving and refining our personality, taming our ego and making space for G‑d to enter our existence, we become new people, realizing the full potential of the Torah.

But real change can only come when there is challenge and temptation. Change comes from breaking out of our status quo and comfort zone, seeking alternative perspectives, fresh attitudes and discovering hidden strengths of character that we never knew we possessed. Angels are holy beings that are never challenged and never have the need to experience real change. They cannot experience or generate newness. We humans, who are faced with challenge and temptation, are forced to dig deeper into our souls to discover fresh methods and strong powers to withstand temptation. We are forced to fortify our value system by constant reflection and education. We have the opportunity of being totally different than we were yesterday, last week or last month.

With all our frailty and vulnerability, we humans are the winning candidates for G‑d's Torah. Let us make sure to use it well.