How To Propose, and Love: A Lesson from the Shavuot Festival

Have you ever heard of “proposal planners”?

As absurd as it sounds, a proposal planner is a relatively new profession in the wedding industry. More and more men hire such planners to plan their engagement proposals. Some even spend hefty sums to ensure that their proposal is as magical as could be.

I may not comprehend the full depth of this new trend, but these types of lavish proposals seem so shallow. It is beyond me why people would spend so much of their resources on such spectacles. Have we become so superficial that we need such enchanting shows to celebrate one of the most defining, and yes, intimate, moments of our lives? Is there no value in love, if it is not advertised? Do we really need lavish displays and flashy appearances to appreciate the soul-stirring sound of the words, “will you marry me?”

This is why God chose the barren desert for His marriage proposal to the Jewish nation on the festival of Shavuot, with the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, 3329 years ago. (If you’re in Scottsdale, Arizona, please join us at Congregation Beth Tefillah, for a very special and inspiring Shavuot program. Otherwise, please consider joining the services of your local Synagogue for the reading of the Ten Commandments on Wednesday, morning).

No, there were no divers at an aquarium; there were no glow-in-the-dark stickers on a ceiling; there were no cakes with hidden diamond rings; there were no flying helicopters with banners; and there were no choirs belting out romantic tunes.

God's location was a desolate desert with the sound of silence. And yet, that was His ultimate choice. Because G-d wanted to teach us that genuine relationships do not need flare; that true love does not need a reason; that the sweetest music is specifically in the "silence between the notes," as Claude Debussy, the famed French Composer, so eloquently said.

Moreover, sometimes we may feel as if we are in a desert-state-of-mind, in which our lives have been shaken, our hearts have been broken, and our energies have been depleted.

And so, God chose the desert to remind us, that although we may not always see Him and sense His blessings, He is there, yearning to connect with us. And his blessings are there even when nothing else can be found, if we can only open our eyes and our hearts. And in the silence of that hot and tiring desert, He is calling our names and asking us:

"Will you partner with me and become my agent of goodness and kindness in this world?"

"Will you allow the Divine soul that I have breathed into you, to shine, inspire, and illuminate the world?"

"Will You Marry Me?"

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