I wanted to give you a sneak peek of a piece I wrote for Limmud North America’s initiative 49 Steps: Jewish Ideas in your inbox from Passover to Shavuot. The initiative invites Jewish thinkers, writers and leaders to reflect on the period of the Omer, the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. Check out other contributors here!
What I love about the Jewish holiday cycle, and the period of the Omer, in particular, is the way in which it invites us to live with an elevated consciousness. If we were to consider each holiday as a response to a human yearning, then the period of the Omer responds to our yearning that growth is always possible and that journeys can transform us.
Every journey starts with a lot of fanfare. There is excitement, preparation along with a hefty dose of exhaustion. It was true as we prepared for Passover this year, and it was true for the ancient Israelites in the Exodus story as well.
And before we reach our destination — revelation at Mt. Sinai and our celebration of Shavuot — there’s the long middle and a lot of things that don’t always go so smoothly. There is complaining. There isn’t enough food to eat or water to drink. And there is quarreling. The long middle is chronicled in the chapters of the Exodus and in the daily pages as we manage the details of our own family lives.
But what if we moved out of a management mindset into a journeying mindset, instead. By doing so we would see all of the things that throw us off track on a daily basis as part of a process. We would believe that there are moments of revelation that will come. Maybe we just aren’t there yet. We would believe that each step along the way, each new day that we count, matters in the grand narrative. And that no matter how distracted we may be, or how challenging that disagreement with our child or partner was, there will be another day with its own mood and character, just as the 1st day of the Omer is different from the 2nd.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom,” says the Psalmist (Psalm 90:12). Counting each day of the Omer reminds me that parenting is the longest journey of discovery and to have the patience that revelations, big and small will always appear.
Blessings for the journey,