shavuot

WHEN THE ANGELS LOST

The mood was somber in heaven that day. The angels moved around, carrying out their tasks, but without their usual joy. As they each passed through the various passageways, they couldn’t help but longingly stare at the Torah, being prepared for it’s introduction to the humans on earth.
“I don’t know, I’m kind of excited about this.” one angel whispered to another, as they moved past G-d’s chambers.
“Excited? Why would you be excited? I can’t stop crying.” her friend whispered back.
“You think these humans are going to be able to do it? G-d will realize very quickly that they’re unworthy. Then He’ll just take the Torah back, and we’ll be the most valuable creations again!”
Suddenly thoughtful, the second angel began to smile again.
“That’s true! I never thought about that. I mean, look at how they’ve been acting since they left Egypt. They’re never happy, never satisfied, always crying and asking for more. There’s no way this will work.”
Both satisfied with this new knowledge, they got back to their jobs with renewed vigor.
The preparation was picking up speed in heaven, and the angels watched in awe as the tablets were being prepared for their big debut.
The tablets had been hidden all this time in G-ds innermost chambers, and the angels had never seen anything like them in heaven or on earth.
The time was finally so close. Ever since the Jewish nation had cried “Naaseh Vinishma, we will do and then we will hear,” two days ago, the feeling in heaven had been one of deep sadness. The Torah that they had the pleasure of studying for so long and never had to share was being taken from them. The arguments heard across heaven were long and loud, but G-d was insistent. This was the plan all along, He said, and it was time.
Now, it was finally the third day. The Jewish nation had been preparing themselves in mind, body, and soul.
But as the angels watched, the mistakes were already starting.
“Why are they sleeping?!” the head observation angel was furious. Every screen in the room was filled with images of sleeping humans, on the most exciting day of their lives.
“According to my data, they believed that when asleep, their souls would access a deeper level of spirituality than they could while awake.” one angel explained, looking up from his notes.
“Well, they thought wrong. I’m sure the plans are off. G-d is not going to give the most precious thing ever created to a sleeping nation.”
Heaven was abuzz with rumors and discussion. When would G-d announce that the Torah would not be given today?
But as their certainty grew, G-d entered.
“It’s time.” was all He said.
“But G-d, they slept!” cried one angel.
“Are they awake now?” G-d asked.
“Well, yes, but -” spluttered the angel.
“Well then, we will carry on with the plans.” G-d moved towards the Torah, standing in the middle of the room.
The angels couldn’t believe it.
As they watched disbelievingly, the show began.
G-d descended into the world, and began to speak.
The angels crammed together in the observation room, some covering their eyes, unable to watch the Torah being given to these worthless creations.
In an instant, the humans were crying out and begging for it to stop.
“See?!” clamor broke out amongst the angels. “They couldn’t even handle one moment of G-ds presence; they can’t even hear His voice without being completely destroyed!”
Some rushed back to greet G-d as He would surely return, unwilling to give the Torah.
But again, they were left dumbfounded. Rather than canceling the plans, G-d spoke only to Moses who relayed the message.
Finally, accepting the bitter truth to themselves, that G-d completely intended to truly give the Torah to the people, the angels tore themselves away. The relaying of the laws would take most of the day, and the angels already knew the laws. None could bear to watch the unworthy humans receive them.
The next day, the angels gathered around the tablets.
“I can’t believe they’ve been hidden for so long, and now they’re just going to be taken from us.”
“I know. This is crazy. Who has been there for G-d every single day since the beginning of time? Who has never made a mistake? Who has never denied G-ds existence? Us! Who could possibly be more worthy than we?” the angels were furious.
Suddenly, the doors to heaven swung open. They all turned to greet the newcomer. It was Moses.
“What are you doing here, Moses?” asked one particularly angry angel. “Came to rub it in our faces that you’ve taken everything we hold dear?”
“I’m sorry, angels,” Moses responded, looking uncomfortable. “I’ve come to collect the tablets and speak with G-d”
Several angels burst towards the tablets, unable to watch Moses take them.
A hush fell over the crowd as G-d entered.
“What is going on?” G-d asked, looking over every angel.
No angel could find the words to respond as they looked around in shame.
“Moses, welcome. You have much to learn, and we can not waste a moment.”
For the next 40 days, the angels attempted to make Moses as miserable as possible. They argued with him at every opportunity. They tested him, hoping to make him trip up on the most important aspects of the Torah.
As the end of the 40 days neared, a couple of angels came rushing out of the observation room, pulling in whichever angels they could find.
“You have to see this!”
The observation room filled up with angels, and cries of shock and anger came from all parts of the room.
“Is that what I think it is?”
The head angel nodded sadly. “A golden calf. They’re serving a G-d that does not exist.”
“They just received the Torah!”
“This is unbelievable!”
“I knew they were unworthy.”
“G-d will never let this slide.”
The voices built up and up and up, the clamor growing.
“Does Moses know?” one single voice was heard, causing a hush to fall over them.
Did Moses know? He was currently studying the deepest secrets with G-d, while his people down below were serving a different G-d altogether. Only 39 days after they heard the voice of G-d Himself.
How would he be able to bear the pain?
“At least he’ll hear it from G-d” sighed one angel, frightened at the inevitable upcoming scene.
Sure enough, the next day, as Moses was preparing to descend and return to his people, G-d informed him of their enormous mistake.
The angels inched closer, aching to eavesdrop on this conversation.
“Leave me alone!” roared G-d to Moses.
The angels shrank back.
“I will annihilate them all! They are not worthy. Forget them, I will create a new nation for you, Moses.”
They could hear G-d pacing, back and forth, in His anger.
“G-d! Please!” they heard Moses pleading “You took them from Egypt. Why allow the Egyptians to see you destroy them after so many miracles?”
G-ds pacing slowed.
His voice softer now, Moses continued “Don’t you remember your promise to Abraham? Isaac? Jacob? You told them that You’d build up their nation to be as many as the stars in the sky. You did it. You built them up. Don’t destroy them now.”
The angels moved away, heartbroken in all kinds of ways. They shouldn’t be listening.
After a little while, Moses came out, his eyes tear-filled, his face drawn. The angels avoided him, but couldn’t quite believe their eyes when he grasped the tablets in his hands and took them with him as he left.
G-d had given in, after all.
Almost as one, the angels rushed to the observation room to witness what would possibly happen next.
As Moses descended and returned to Mt. Sinai, they watched his expression fill with unquestionable anger as he caught sight of his nation, his people that he had just fought for, dancing around and serving the golden calf.
In one moment, before anyone could grasp what was happening, they watched Moses flung the tablets with all his might. They crashed into the side of the mountain, the tablets that had been waiting for centuries to be given on earth, shattered into millions of pieces.
All through the night, the angels cried in anguish. The Torah, the tablets, they had waited so long for the perfect moment, and this moment was so far from perfect it was laughable.
How had G-d intended this? How had He seen this nation to be fit to receive the most valuable of gifts?
A few very slow and utterly unbearable days later, Moses was back.
The angels couldn’t bear to look at his face, there was so much pain etched along his eyes.
He was ushered in to speak with G-d.
For the next 40 days, no angel heard from or saw G-d or Moses. They felt time, space, and everything hanging in the balance. Would the universe cease to be?  What would become of earth?  What would become of the Jewish nation?
Finally, Moses came out as well, with G-d by his side. Moses held something wrapped in his arms.
The angels gathered around, unable to hold their curiosity back.
Moses uncovered his parcel, and the angels could barely believe what they saw –
a brand new set of tablets, almost as beautiful and magical as the first.
G-d nodded to Moses, Moses nodded to the angels and left, as if he had never been there at all, taking the new set of tablets with him.
Heaven was silent. The angels stared at each other, unsure of where to start.
“You’ve forgiven them?” one angel spoke up, incredulous.
“No. They will be punished.” was all G-d saw fit to respond.
“So that’s it. You’re going to give the most precious thing you ever created to sinners.”
“I am. But you’re wrong, angel. The Torah is not the most precious thing I created. They are.

Blog Post: 35/52

Featured Photo via MyJewishLearning.com

To learn more about the holiday of Shavuot click here.