It is so inspiring to me as I begin to understand that counting the Omer is an opportunity to enhance my growth, in this season of new growth each year.
One of my teachers, Rabbi Aryeh Nivin said these words in an email lately:
"Practically speaking, all you need to do is identify yourself with the Jewish people, with the goals of Har Sinai, with the idea of mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh—a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. You need to choose a small action, a miniature practice, to do every day that represents your willingness and desire to make a positive change."
So, that is what I am doing now. I am endeavoring to make ONE positive change in order to glue myself to my people and to the goals of Mount Sinai.
What are you doing during this Omer period that will have lasting impact on your relationship to the Jewish people and to Torah?
Oh, I also spoke to a woman on the phone today who is not Jewish, and when I happened to mention that I am Jewish, because we were discussing spiritual matters, she said, "Well, whatever your grandmothers gave you, I respect that." Gee, that's an interesting thing to say, isn't it?
I know that my "grandmothers" go back to Sinai and she probably has no idea what she really said, in that regard.
How fortunate I am this Shabbat Eve, in considering my relationship to my people and to Torah!
The FridayLight.org email this week echoed Rabbi Nivin's sentiments, as well as my phone call, in a different way:
"Did you ever get to know your great-grandmother? If you're reading this, there's a good chance she emigrated with her family from the "old world" to the "new world"...
So what has changed since your family emigrated? Did your family continue the tradition of lighting Shabbat lights? For lots of us, we are the first generation of women, since our great-grandmothers emigrated, to light Shabbat lights every Friday. And it's something to be really proud of...
First and foremost, we fulfill a commandment when we light Shabbat lights. But on a personal level, lighting Shabbat lights is a way to bring the lights of our great-grandmothers to life."
Please feel free to share in the comments for us all to enjoy.