Last year, the counting of the Omer was a literal counting of the days between when I left home during Pesach and would arrive back home at the end of my year and begin my trip and preparation for this fantastic year in Israel. The symbolism stuck with me, stood out as a gift, I counted the days from an exodus to a new journey, to a new gift. This year, the counting is much sadder. This year, I counted each day, knowing that I was counting one day closer to my impending departure from Jerusalem and Israel. And now, the time is here. 2 weeks from tomorrow, I board a plane and head on out.
So, knowing all of this, how will I accept the gift of Torah? How can I possibly take it all in, standing at the bottom of this mountain, looking up? Perhpas I will approach it like i approach rabbinical school: head held high, ready to learn and jump each day, but taking it step by step, carefully taking it all in, careful not to fall, stumbling a bit, finding new paths, finding better paths, achy and sore on the way, but changing and growing none-the-less. Perhaps, I will approach this mountain looming before me with trepidation but excitement, jumping with anticipation at the new insights just waiting to be discovered this turn around. As Rabbi Ben Bag Bag says in Perkei Avot: “Turn it and turn it over again, for all is within it…” Here we go for another round.
Here I stand, awaiting the gift, looking back from where I came, how I’ve grown on this journey, looking ahead at the climb, and looking forward to every minute of the adventure. What will I find? What will I take? What will I learn? What will i teach? Who will I be?
COME STAND WITH ME!
May it be your will, great compassionate, loving God, that I stand here again a year from now, wiser, and more open to accepting your gift. Thank you for the gift of your loving embrace, the gift of the sun and the glorious land which you have given me to enjoy, for the health and happiness of all those who surround me. May I never take for granted the beauty of your earth, the gift of your Torah, and the gift of my life.