This week, in Parshat Emor, we learn about the cycle of Jewish festivals: Shabbat, Pesach, Sukkot, Shavuot. The details concerning the timing of each of these chaggim teaches us the middah: “Pay attention to special times.” Noticing special moments and times is a key practice of Jewish consciousness. Our calendar with its cycle of chaggim, Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat — that start and finish at times that shift according to the seasons — reminds us always to be attentive to the uniqueness of each moment. Right now, we are in the midst of Sefirat Ha’omer — the counting of days between Pesach — our celebration freedom and Shavuot — our celebration of receiving the Torah. Next Thursday will be Lag Ba’omer — the 33rd day of counting, which we celebrate with a day of learning through field games.
So much are special moments and times a part of the Jewish thinking that Rabbi Heschel has referred to Judaism as a religion of time, and the Jewish calendar as the “architecture of time.”
This week our teachers felt blessed to celebrate Teacher Appreciate Week, another unique Heschel time during which parents come together to celebrate and appreciate their children’s teachers.
As we enter into Shabbat, my wish for all of us is to let the Jewish calendar be our guide in helping us become increasingly mindful, attentive, and appreciative of special moments and times.