This Shabbat we bless the new month of Sivan, the month in which the holiday of Shavuot falls. In addition, we read two Torah portions, the second one beginning with G-d’s words, “If you follow in my statutes…” These words can be directly related to the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, the festival on which we celebrate receiving the Torah.
Interestingly, the Talmud interprets the first word, “If” (“im” in Hebrew) as a plea, an appeal, as it were, from G-d for us to follow the mitzvot which he has commanded us.
But, the Talmud also tells us, that G-d never imposes unreasonable or impossible obligations upon His creatures. Therefore, not only is G-d beseeching us to keep His Torah, he is also conferring upon us the ability to follow and uphold all of the Torah’s commandments.
For us, this year, the lesson is clear. In preparation for receiving the Torah on Shavuot, we are assured by G-d (as we are every year and, in fact, each day) that we have the strength and ability to observe the Torah that we will be receiving.
But drawing on that G-d-given ability can, of course, be a very difficult job. So, to give us incentive, G-d promises us a reward, too: “I will give your rains in their season.” This is both a material and spiritual reward: for rain connotes blessing in material matters and also refers to the Torah which we will learn when Moshiach comes.
May each and every one of us merit to draw on the strength and ability G-d has promised us, to allow us to fulfil our fullest potential. Then we will truly be prepared to receive the Torah anew on Shavuot and ultimately learn Torah together with Moshiach.