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Climbing Your Way To The Top

01/02/2020 03:41:13 PM


Rabbi Mordechai Bookbinder


The joke goes that the reason the Jews spent 40 years in the desert was because Moshe, being a man, refused to stop and ask for directions. (insert laugh-track here – Ed.) We actually just passed an important mile-stone in our journey from Pesach to Shavuos earlier this week – Lag B’Omer which is the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer. This day marks the yahrzeit of one of the great rabbis of the Talmud, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who was also the author of the Zohar (the corpus of Jewish Kabbalah). For many, Lag B’Omer marks the point at which they can start to listen to music and get haircuts once again, having concluded a widely-observed period of semi-mourning on the calendar (the Omer). As such, it is a transitional time. Each of us have our travels and journeys. It’s important that we identify, for ourselves, our own milestones and markers to be able to chart our progress. Judaism is not, nor was it ever seen as, an all-or-nothing religion; but it is a religion of personal growth. We believe that we must always strive upward to be better than we are, and that our potential always exceeds our grasp. This time between Pesach and Shavuos is period of introspection and growth. It calls to us to better ourselves, and Lag B’Omer is an opportunity to take stock before we reach the Shavuos finishing line. If we haven’t yet “started the climb”, it’s not too late; now is that time to pick a goal and start the climb so that when Shavuos arrives, we can look back and feel good about all that we have accomplished. Good Shabbos.

Sun, September 24 2023 9 Tishrei 5784