Thursday evening begins the Festival of Shavuot, a profoundly deep holiday commemorating the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Yet Sinai itself remains enigmatic: Despite being the location of the most seminal moment in Jewish history, when Heaven met Earth, Sinai itself lost any intrinsic relevance after God’s presence left it; we do not even know the true location of the mountain, nor have Jewish scholars throughout antiquity bothered to look.

One of the very few Jewish references to Sinai after the giving of the Torah occurs in the book of Kings, when the prophet Elijah flees from the evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel into the mountain, identified in Jewish responsa as Sinai itself. Elijah is seeking God’s help, and a great wind comes, but “G-d was not in the wind”; nor was God in the “thunder or earthquake” that followed ... then Elijah heard a still, small voice. God was in that voice. It told Elijah to return to his people and help them; he did not need the mountain of God a second time — he already had the Torah and that was all he needed.

Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn is executive director and spiritual leader of Chabad Wyoming. Howard Goldstein is a forest ecologist and longtime associate of Chabad Wyoming. Guest Shots are solely the opinion of their author.

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