Happy Spring. It has been a difficult winter for us here in the Northeast part of the USA: too much snow; too much rain and wind and cold. Most of us are very ready for the end of winter and the beginning of baseball. It is has been a tough winter as well on some other fronts. There were too many funerals and losses of friends of mine and the continuing reality of time’s passing.I stood, the other day, at the grave of my dad and was struck that it has been twenty years since he died. I was caught off guard. Where has the time gone? Twenty years! In the blink of an eye! Twenty years: my son was in high school and my daughter, now married and a mom herself, was only ten.
On the way home, I began thinking of the upcoming Passover seder. It would have, for the first time, my granddaughter and my mom. Nine plus decades of life; almost a century of experience, and I reminded myself to make sure I took “that” picture. I was also reminded of a few texts (occupational hazard). We are in the period of time between Passover and the festival of Shavuot. We count the “omer”, a system that marks the days that lead to the first fruits of harvest in the old agricultural cycle. But, many modern commentators also speak of the need to mark time, to count time, to become aware of its passing. There is also the comments on the word “ha-yom” (the day) found in Deuteronomy 29 and 30. We are reminded that too many live “for” the day and not “in” the day. What that means is that the tradition is reminding us that we do well to count each day as a gift, to live in that day, that moment, and to celebrate life. We are at the stage of our lives that the reality of our own mortality is more present. Between our own aging, that of our parents (if we are lucky to have them) and the growing reality of illness among friends; it is a time to re-assess and re-thing how we live each day and what we want for the days that lie ahead. Perhaps that is why the tradition also teaches us to “number our days “ so we may be blessed.
It has been a tough winter. Spring is here and with it, new hope and, I pray, a sense for all of us , that we need to step back and count each day as a blessing, to celebrate that day and to seek the ways and means to live in it.
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.MIn
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.