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The Big Reveal

05/27/2020 04:58:28 PM


Rabbi Ron Segal

Back, oh so many months ago, when live television shows were far more prevalent, I know that many of us watched with regularity one or more of the reality shows available for mindless entertainment. Anticipating and trying to guess who would get the rose, seeing how interior decorators could transform a house on a limited budget, marveling at the ways personal stylists could dramatically change a person’s appearance, salivating as chefs would take an assortment of ingredients and whip up a tantalizing dish…an endless array of reality shows from which to choose. No matter the program, though, one particular feature seems to be prevalent: most reality shows draw viewers in and keep us captivated in order to see the dramatic, big reveal at the show’s culmination.

According to one definition, a reveal is a final revelation of information that was previously unknown (to viewers in the case of movie or television show). As it concerns reality TV, the build-up to the big reveal is always characterized by drama, suspense, surprise, and occasional disappointment, and frequently, an accurate guess regarding the ending. But whether or not we correctly anticipated the final outcome of the big reveal, at the end of the day we ultimately understand and recognize that the vast majority of such programs serve one primary purpose – to entertain us (and, of course, to gain viewers and boost network ratings). With rare exception, there is little intrinsic value to be found.

Tonight and tomorrow, though, we experience a big reveal of a different kind, a reveal as profound as any experience in the history of humankind. Tonight and tomorrow, we observe the festival of Shavuot, the day on which Jewish tradition teaches Torah was revealed to the people of Israel at Sinai. In stark contrast with TV, there is no moment or experience with more inherent value than this one. Since the Exodus from Egypt which we commemorated and relived forty-nine days ago at Passover, we have been counting, and building up, and spiritually preparing, and drawing ever closer to this moment – this revelatory moment when our ancestors were transformed from a disparate assembly of individuals into the people of Israel. This is Judaism’s “biggest reveal!”

Whether we enjoy reality TV or not, one might mistakenly conclude that, “since I know the outcome, I don’t need to watch this season.” Allow me to share that nothing could be further from the truth. For while it may be true that the words themselves remain the same, they are just the beginning ingredients of a feast we will prepare together in the year ahead. Beginning this evening, join us for the excitement, drama, joy, and surprise of a ‘new season’ ahead, one which will build to an ultimate reveal determined by each and every one of us together. Wishing you a meaningful Shavuot – Chag sameach!

Mon, August 3 2020 13 Av 5780