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The Biggest Impact On the Jews

by: Shmuel ben Shlomi

What is the one event within the history of the Jewish people that has remained to this day the thing that has made the most significant impact upon the hearts, minds and lives of the Jews as a whole?

Many have brought to this question a variety of thoughts and ideas. Was it Abraham leaving Sumer for Canaan which would result in the birth of the Hebrew peoples? Or perhaps it was Joseph’s meteoric rise to power in the Egyptian royal court? Some point to more recent times in the history of the Jews with the events of the Inquisitions in Europe beginning in 1492 CE, or even more recently with the holocaust in the 20th Century circa., 1930’s and 1940’s CE.

Surely it must be the reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948 CE after nearly 2,000 years in exile from our homeland, or the regaining of Jerusalem in 1967 CE after the Six Day War; the near defeat of the young State in 1973 CE during the Yom Kippur War in which, like the Maccabean victory of Chanukah, the small Jewish military defeated overwhelming forces aligned against them on all sides forever establishing the State of Israel on the world scene and in the minds of world leaders. In even more recent times many view former President Donald Trump’s moving of the American Embassy to Jerusalem and The United States’ full recognition of Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights as the one most important events that has impacted the lives of Jews.

While all of these monumental events have surely impacted the lives of every Jew in Israel and throughout the world there is one event that stands alone in bringing the greatest impact and change in the life of Jews that has forever marked them indelibly as unique.

3,300 years ago a group of ragtag immigrants and former slaves left their enslavement under a great and powerful Egyptian empire and found themselves within just a few weeks of that massive exodus encamped at the foot of a mountain that was engulfed with fire, lightening, smoke and loud thundering noise. They heard the very voice of God calling out to them and received from God His instructions and laws binding them to Him forever in a very special, unique and highly responsible covenant with the Creator of all that is.

That one event on Mount Sinai has forever set the Jewish people apart from all others (not better than anyone else but more responsible and accountable to God) and made such an impact, such a mark, such an impression on them that it is the one most challenging and life changing event that a Jew, any Jew, can never fully remove from their lives as an individual and as a community; as a people.

What they (all Jews) experienced on that day was not a vision, it was not a dream, it wasn’t a prophecy from a prophet or a teaching from a rabbi or priest. It was a community meeting between them and God Almighty. Every man, woman and child in attendance (and all Jews since every Jew to ever be was represented by our fathers there) at the foot of that mountain heard the voice of God, saw the manifestations of the glory of God and received from God His Torah. It was not given by a man, a priest, a rabbi, a scribe, a prophet or any created thing. It came from the very Hand of HaShem.

Every other spiritual movement, philosophy, religion, or cult on planet Earth has come into existence as a result of some human’s vision, dream, insight, revelation, teaching, or personal experience. Only the Jews received the Torah of God via direct first hand reception from God Himself while all present were fully aware, fully awake and completely in awe of the actual event taking place physically right in front of them.

The day יהוה came down to the mountain, met His people and made a binding covenant with them with His Torah is the day that the Jewish people and the world changed forever, never to be the same again. It is that day we commemorate every year with the celebration of Shavuot (Weeks), and will do so for all time.

Shalom to you all!

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