Tweet #Torah to the Top!
Shavuot means a lot of things: We read the Book of Ruth, a story that took place during the harvest. We stay up all night studying Torah in a tikkun leil shavuot. We traditionally eat dairy meals with treats like blintzes and cheesecake. And if you’re active on social media, there’s another way to celebrate Shavuot, too: by tweeting #Torah to the top!
Originally started in 2009 by Rabbi Shai Gluskin, Tweet #Torah to the Top is an effort to spread the teachings of the Torah and the discussions surrounding them to as many people as possible by organizing a collaborate effort to tweet on Erev Shavuot.
Tweet #Torah to the Top has since gained traction, becoming an annual event among Jewish tweeters. This year, because Erev Shavuot falls on a Friday, we’ll be tweeting Torah to the top on Thursday, May 25th (erev Erev Shavuot, if you will).
Rabbi Mark Hurvitz has a few suggestions for those who might be stuck on how, exactly, to tweet about Torah:
I think this is a great way to encourage awareness of Torah. I’m sure we each have many simple “Torah thoughts” that can be expressed in 133 characters. (Don’t forget to leave room for the final space and #Torah, that’s 7 more characters.) If you think that 133 characters is not enough for a profound thought from Torah, consider that the following sentence is only 102 characters (also from “Hillel the Tweeter”): If I am not for myself, who will be for me. if I am for myself alone, what am I. And if not now, when?
Or consider these:
- #Torah is not in heaven, that you should say: Who shall go up for us to heaven, & bring it to us, & make us to hear it, that we may do it?
- Neither is #Torah beyond the sea, that you might say: Who shall go over the sea, & bring it to us, & make us hear it, that we may do it?
- But #Torah is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.
This cool tool from the Central Conference of American Rabbis “shreds” blocks of text into Twitter-friendly portions and adds #Torah to the end of each so your tweets show up in the broader conversation. Or maybe you’re more comfortable writing a poem about Torah or starting a discussion about your favorite passage? That’s fine, too! Do what’s comfortable for you, and join in virtual Torah study with Jews from across the world.
One of the goals of this project is to see the hashtag #Torah “trend” on Twitter during that day. (For the non-tweeters among you, that means making Torah one of the most talked about topics on Twitter during that time period – a real feat when we’re competing with the entire Internet for just a few top spots!) Still, as Rabbi Hurwitz notes, it is also meant to be a learning experience. He suggest that rather than simply asking, “Did we get #Torah to trend?” participants might also ask one another,
- Did you learn something?
- Did you meet someone new?
- Did someone else’s #Torah tweet cause you to think in a way you had not thought before?
- Did your understanding of #Torah grow?
- Did you feel a bit more a part of the revelation we celebrate at Shavuot?