Together Passover and Shavuot also teach that accepting the Ten Commandments at Sinai endowed the world with a sense of purpose and destiny. That acts as a guide for how to use freedom. The Passover story makes clear that God did not liberate the Jewish people merely to free them from bondage. God emancipated the Israelites to serve God in the desert, accept the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and then strive to live them out in their daily lives.
The exodus from Egypt and the receiving of the law at Sinai have permeated cultures well beyond Judaism for centuries. These two events are in fact cornerstones for the modern global civilization. They gave civil society a code by which to conduct personal lives and create legal systems. They motivate people to lead what Rev. Rick Warren calls a “purpose-driven life.” And they may be in part what President John F. Kennedy meant in the closing words of his 1961 inaugural address: “Let us go forth to lead the land we love asking his blessing and his help but knowing here on Earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
Shavuot begins after sunset on Tuesday, June 2. Let us gather together that evening with believers of all persuasions and discuss what Sinai and the Ten Commandments mean to each of us””our history, our responsibility and our destiny. Call it a Sinai Seder.