Carla Lynch was in her early thirties when her voice became hoarse. Now this happens to us all at some point, but Carla’s hoarse voice never went away. It was only after years of ENT visits and other specialists that she received the shocking news; she had invasive cancer of the vocal cords. She needed surgery if she was to survive and that would mean removing her vocal cords.
No vocal cords means no voice, no voice means no speech. The words would form in her mind and that’s where they would remain. Forever.
The Neshama, the ultimate gift from Hashem, yearns to speak, to communicate, to share and to act. It has immense spiritual energy, yet no medium to appropriately express that eternity of depth. The Neshama is a voice without vocal cords. Or at least it would be without the 613 mitzvos. The mitzvos allow the Neshama to have a voice. Then the voice can ring clearly through air. One can hear that voice speaking through the hands that help the poor. One can hear the voice calling out in prayer and singing in praise. One can hear that voice articulating the wisdom of the Torah.
The joy of Shavuos is not only a confirmation of national purpose; it is also a license for the soul for to speak.
Carla survived the surgery and can now speak with the aid of a tracheoesophageal prosthesis. But her voice will never sound the same.