After Shavuot: Reflections on the Journey


I was sick for the 49th day of the Omer and Shavuot, so wasn’t able to post anything at the end of the journey, but have some summary thoughts I want to share.

Pesach is about freedom: the Omer journey of 49 days is about learning what it is to be free. Shavuot is about guidance (Divine Guidance, that is). Freedom without guidance can result in random actions, impulsive behaviors, and dangerous explorations (think of many teens). At Shavuot we receive the great gift of Divine Guidance to help us use our freedom well. What do we need to do to actualize this gift?

1. Humility. Recognize that we don’t have many (if any) of the answers we need to make good use of our freedoms. Often, we struggle to even conceptualize the questions!

2. Openness. Being prepared to accept offered advice is a sign of maturity. Even being open to the possibility that guidance might be useful is crucial.

3. Resolve. Being humble enough to know we need guidance and being open to receive it are useless steps unless we gather the resolve to follow through. Resolve requires a sense of the possibility of a changed future.

4. Change. Not intention, not simply kavvanah (though that is necessary), but actual change in attitudes, behaviors, actions are the indicator of really accepting the guidance we are given.

Each year the guidance we need is different, but the process of humility, openness, resolve and change is the same. May this year’s process be transformational.

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