The Jewish people were standing at the foot of the mountain. They had anticipated this day from the moment they heard that they would be a free people. They had just been redeemed from their brutal enslavement in Egypt, witnessed the 10 plagues that G‑d had brought upon the Egyptians, experienced the awe-inspiring splitting of the sea and traveled through the desert, protected by the clouds of glory. With building excitement, they had counted the days leading up to this event.

And yet, on the day when the Jewish people finally arrived at Mount Sinai, Moses did not offer them any instructions on how to prepare for receiving the Torah. The people were weak from the journey, and he didn’t want to overwhelm them.

When going on a long-anticipated vacation, most of us shop and plan days—and maybe even weeks—in advance. We want everything to be just perfect. With the excitement and adrenaline rushing through our blood, we can accomplish anything.

We wonder then, why, with such a monumental occasion approaching, the people were not begging Moses to guide them in their preparations for the big day.

We are taught that each of us is truly a part of G‑d himself, and those of us who are seekers live with a constant yearning to reach for something higher. We want to touch—and even more so, to experience—the Divine light in our lives. We have a burning desire to feel the infinite through our connections to those around us.

As we approach Shavuot, the festival of the receiving of the Torah, we are given another opportunity to think about how to bring that Divine spirit into our lives, how to manifest the Torah’s vibrant energy.

We find an insight into how to experience and manifest the Divine spirit in our lives in the Jewish people’s journey to Mount Sinai.

When we travel from one place to another, we are traveling not only in the physical sense, but also spiritually. Although a journey may seem short in the number of miles we traverse, the emotional and spiritual distance traveled may be vast.

When the Jewish people journeyed through the desert, they were doing more than covering physical ground; they were taking a series of progressive spiritual steps. By the time they reached Mount Sinai, the Jewish people stood as “one man with one heart,” feeling true unity at the root of their soul. That revelation was a complete paradigm shift, making no further preparation for the receiving of the Torah necessary.

As we prepare to receive and internalize the Torah with joy and vibrancy, we look for ways to bring the Torah’s message into our lives. Like the Jewish people standing at the foot of the mountain, “as one man with one heart,” we can receive the Torah this year as one people, at one with our fellow Jews.

How do we achieve this unity? In order to be at one with others, we must surrender the ego. When we stand in unity, recognizing only our common source, we can let go of our external drives and look inward to the core of our purpose. We can surrender and see the peace of G‑d’s intention in the world.

A famous motivational speaker, Wayne Dyer, recounts his story of growing up and moving from one foster home to another. His brother, who had a similar childhood experience, still lives a troubled life, but somehow, Wayne managed to be different. One of his childhood pastimes, he recalls, was sitting on his bed and picturing himself on a bus. In his mind’s eye, he would jump up to reach for the bar that the adults were holding onto, which was far above his reach. He would hang in the air, not knowing the exact route the bus would take. The bus would go until it was his turn to get off, at which point he would magically be put down at his destination.

This child’s innocence and faith that the life that G‑d had planned for him would take him to the perfect place helped him manage his difficult situation. It also helped him to make a success of his life and become a role model for others.

The power of surrender is that it allows us to live in peace and to embrace our lives, knowing that the ultimate plan is about to be revealed.

Another way to achieve unity and connection with others is through empathy, identifying with others’ experiences.

The following two examples show how the Lubavitcher rebbes showed empathy, caring and connectedness in their interactions with their Chassidim.

The Rebbe Maharash (the fourth Lubavitcher rebbe) would spend many hours with his followers, giving them advice and blessings. Often, in between visitors, he would need to change his clothes. His efforts to identify with each individual’s unique experience took so much energy and exertion that his clothing would be soaked with perspiration.

Once, while meeting with people, the Rebbe Rashab (the fifth Lubavitcher rebbe) closed his door and refused to see any more visitors. His followers, who were standing outside, heard him weeping and praying. For many days following this incident, the rebbe was so weak that he could barely leave his bed. One of the elder Chassidim asked him what had caused this weakness. He responded that when someone comes to ask him how to correct a sin, he must be able to find the same sin, even in a subtle form, within himself. On that day, a visitor had come to ask about a sin that the rebbe could not at all relate because of its severity. And yet, as Divine providence had brought this man to him, he realized that there must be some way that he could empathize with this person and his sin. This thought shook him deeply, causing him to find a subtle trace of a similar sin within himself.

As we stand before Mount Sinai waiting to receive the Torah so that we can integrate it into our body and soul, we acknowledge that we are one with each other and G‑d. Through surrendering our ego and letting G‑d take the reigns, and through empathy, we nurture each other and connect with the true and infinite nurturer—G‑d himself.