Parshat Emor recounts the cycle of biblical Jewish Holidays: Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret. Details about the timing of the 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, roshei chodesh and shabbatot, that start and finish at times that shift according to the seasons, reminds us always to be attentive to the uniqueness of each moment. In the daily morning tefillah service we are reminded that unique events occur
“בכל עת ובכל שעה,” “ערב ובוקר וצהרים”
“at every moment and time, evening, morning, and noon.”
We simply need to pay attention to them.
Right now, we are in the midst of another special time: Sefirat Ha’omer — the counting of days between Pesach, our celebration of freedom, and Shavuot, our celebration of receiving the Torah. This week we held our school celebration of Lag Ba’Omer — the 33rd day of Sefirat Ha’Omer. Lag Ba’Omer is a special time during which we commemorate the commitment of the Jewish people to learning even when the study of Torah was banned by the Romans. According to rabbinic tradition, Jews found a way to disguise the study of Torah by pretending to play Roman style sports and games. To commemorate this strategy, our student council sports committee designed fun and engaging field games for the whole school. Each game included some learning about the events and heroes of Lag Ba’Omer. We celebrated this special time traditionally by sitting around a bonfire, singing songs, and eating roasted potatoes.
This Shabbat, may we find ways to pay attention to special and unique quality moments and times. I look forward to seeing on Sunday at Mitzvah Day.