Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah to the people Israel, teaches that each of us encounters the Torah on a myriad of levels – the literal, contextual (peshat), the allegorical, philosophical (remez), the homiletic, ethical (derash), and the mystical (sod). The first Hebrew letters of these four levels create the acronym for orchard – PaRDeS – signifying the multiplicity of meanings to be discovered in the Torah. Each tree in this metaphorical orchard is recognized as a tree of life to all who uphold it – a source of wisdom and sustenance throughout our lives. On behalf of the Board of Governors, Overseers, faculty, students, and administration of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, I express our heartfelt thanks for your ongoing support of our sacred mission – the transmission of Torah from generation to generation.

Please click here for our cantorial students' rendition of Eitz Chayim Hi (It is a Tree of Life).