A Mitzvah Week Introduction
Many of us are looking for ways of structuring our days so that they lead to sanity, routine, and give us an avenue to make a continued impact through connection outside of the isolated self.
To help us, Rabbi Splansky has declared the week starting after sundown this Shabbat, until Havdallah next Shabbat as a week of Mitzvot – of intentional connection, and of working to make us all ‘giborim‘ – helping heroes for our families, our community and our world.
How was this time chosen? This week our reading begins, “These are my fixed times” (Leviticus 23:2). Time feels like it is slipping, and God reminds us this week that we need to do what we can to close our fists and hold fast to it.
It wasn’t so long ago that we started counting the days between Passover and Shavuot – already twenty-seven have passed. On the thirty-third day in the Omer, according to later sages, the plague ceased – allowing the brilliance of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai to survived, and the thirty-third day of the Omer is his yartzeit. The customary bonfires a tribute to his bright light and control of Eish haTorah- the Fire of Torah.
One of the reasons given around the Omer is that it was born out of the infighting and lack of intellectual connection between Rabbi Akiva’s students – but on Lag B’Omer the suffering abated. Through each of our own work, no matter how small, we can bring some of that connection and healing to the world around us.
We have tried to organize the days by themes, as a way of wrapping our heads around the opportunities in front of us.
On Sunday we focus on our families and have a chance to have a Book Bubi read us stories, and join with our grandparents/grandchildren in a music-filled worship experience. Monday we focus on our own mental health, including opportunities for a ‘check-in’ before our evening service, and to laugh with the Luke Sklar Mental Health initiative. Tuesday we focus on our planet, doing some spring cleaning, planting pollinators, and appreciating the outside world. Wednesday is Lag B’Omer, and we can think of the traditional haircuts (and donating that hair, if possible), Jewish food around our imaginary bonfires, and virtually visiting Israel. Thursday we show acts of loving-kindness, including a talk with JIAS, and many impactful ways we can make a real difference in our world. Friday we prepare for Shabbat as we think of Shalom Bayit – Peace in our homes, and gather with challah and candles for a large congregational Shabbat experience. Saturday, Shabbat, we come together to celebrate, study, and congratulate ourselves on a week well lived, with a slide-show at Havdalah, collecting all of the pictures you took of yourselves making face-masks, writing cards, on the daily minyanim – reaching out in ways large and small.
It is going to be a great week – look through our guide, and get planning! And don’t forget to send your pictures to [email protected] as you take them, tagging Holy Blossom Temple on Facebook and Instagram and using #hbtmitzvahweek.