Omer Counting: Day 4


Jay Jacobs

At the BCC second night Seder, I was reminded of the 36 lammed vavniks, who by their very existence save the world each and every day.  In Hebrew numerology the letter lammed and vav are equal to 36, which is a double chai, 18. Some say this is a second, hidden life. Rabbi Lawrence Kushner talks about the Hebrew letter Lammed, “Come my beloved, lechah dodi, Lamed. Teach me. Study with me. Tell me of the thirty-six righteous ones, lammed vav tsadikim, who carry in their hearts the pain of all the world.” To save the world in anonymity, as the lammed vavniks do, how would you perform an act of compassion where you would prefer not to?

Sometimes we learn by studying. Sometimes we learn by doing. Rabbi Kushner also says, “When we perform a mitzvah, we make it ours. We understand it; we “hear” it. It becomes parts of us. Performing a mitzvah changes us, brings us closer to G-d. It also has the mysterious power to repair what is broken.” If you performed an act of compassion where you would prefer not to, what would be repaired?

“Where you would prefer not to.” Is this a place or a time? At first, I thought it was a place like the wilderness which the Israelites wandered through, but on reflection perhaps it means that time is even more precious. At work and at home, it can be so easy to be caught up in the rapid pace of modern life. As an exercise today, take the time to stop and choose to be present for a stranger, friend, or loved one.

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