Shavuot marks the anniversary of the day when we received the Torah at Mount Sinai.

This is the holiday when we received a gift. As a matter of fact it is called Mattan Torah, "the giving of Torah." So profound is this present that there is no way we could ever have merited it. It was an act of grace. The dictionary defines "grace" as the freely given, unmerited favor and love of G‑d. The idea that there are things in this world that I have but I didn't earn sounds obvious, but I need to be reminded of it constantly. By meditating on the fact that G‑d is doing for me what I can't do for myself, that He is showering presents on me all the time, I can reach a level of humility that I need.

There is no way we could ever have merited it. It was an act of graceThe challenge begins when my self-centered soul steers me away from that meditation. It paints an entirely different picture. I know how it reasons all too well. First it will convince me that I have been wronged, which will fuel my self-righteousness. Then I am one step away from feeling entitled. It becomes all about how I am the victim, and there is no hope for true joy if I am busy convincing myself how bad I have it.

Being grateful for all the gifts in my life is the opposite of being resentful and feeling entitled. The attitude of entitlement vs. the attitude of humility: one brings misery, arrogance and loneliness; and the other brings joy, unity and gratitude. It seems like an easy choice. Why would I choose misery?

Sometimes it feels like it takes a lot more work to be humble than to be miserable. It's that work that G‑d wants from us. He put us into this world and hid Himself so that we would have to persevere through the darkness. We would have to choose reality over the illusions of our negative side. After all—it's only because of the darkness that a person could believe that he is entitled to anything.

On Shavout, G‑d gives the ultimate gift. He gives in the deepest way. He gives of Himself. It's a personal gift to each of us. Every one of us has the opportunity to connect with Him in a way that before Mattan Torah even our forefathers couldn't.

Now all we have to do is peel away the darkness and find out just how much G‑d not only loves each of us, but trusts us that we will use His Torah to bring about an even greater gift— Moshiach.

Happy Shavout!