Skip to main content

Omer Day 2: The Offering of Time

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism offers questions for each day's omer count. For Day 2, it is this:

"Long ago, Jews brought an omer of barley - about a quart - to the Temple each day as an offering to God. What kind of offering might you make today?" (1)

That got me thinking about what it means to make an "offering." The korban at the temporary mishkan and then at the Temple/s in Jerusalem was meant to be something special and valuable. Not enough to bankrupt you, but something to make you stop and think before you turned it over to the priests. 

Whether it was some choice flour or a prized animal, you brought something of yourself to your relationship to God, bringing yourself closer to the Holy One of Blessing as a thank-you, an atonement, or just a way to praise God.

My most precious offering today would be time. 

"When I have the time." 
"I'll get to it later." 
"Time got away from me."

Time is an odd commodity. Seemingly finite and absolute, it expands and contracts depending on the amount of time we appear to own. If it normally takes 5 minutes to empty the dishwasher, it will take 3 if we do it at the last minute, and 45 if we have all day. 

Any parent will confirm that time is the enemy of serenity: time may fly when you're having fun but it seemingly moves at warp speed when you look around and what were babies just yesterday are now your adult children on their own, making their own decisions, living (hopefully and mostly) independent from you.

Time is more valuable than money, more demanding than bringing or mailing a check to an organization. Ask any committee chairperson - they'll tell you that while financial donations are crucial, almost more critical are the people to work on projects. Human resources almost always both trump and trail behind financial and material resources. 

So my self-question today is this: how much time am I willing to sacrifice in order to honor God? 



Popular posts from this blog

Elul 21: The airline safety guide (Love)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Adonai. (Lev. 19:18)

You shall love the stranger that dwells with you (who will be for you like the native-born among you), as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am Adonai, your God. (Lev. 19:34)

And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might ... (Deut. 6:5)

If you've paid attention to your flight attendant, you know that in the event of an emergency, you put your own oxygen mask on first. Only then do you help someone next to you, including a child. Why? Because if you don't have oxygen, you're useless to anyone else.

It's the same with love.

Start by loving and caring for yourself. It's not selfish; it's just a place to start.

Then move outward: your neighbor, your community, the strangers around you.

Then, finally, the realm of God: the spiritual love that holds all the others together.

But it all starts in your own home.

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5777: WAIT

I got the best advice from my son: "Mom, why are you even engaging with these people? Please stop."

I've got people on Facebook who - while holding similar philosophies in some areas - are 180 degrees from me politically. I long ago determined that arguing with these people is counterproductive, only useful if I believe - science notwithstanding - that heartrate-raising arguments is equal to a good cardio workout.

And so my goal for today is to WAIT (by the way, not an original concept - I learned it from Rabbi Andy Sklarz): Why Am I Talking?

Provocateurs and bullies want to be engaged. They poke, someone responds, and the game is afoot. Like fire, they need constant air renewal. So if don't engage, don't respond, they will run out of air.

So for today, I grit my teeth ... and wait.

Elul 7: Choice - God, the Restaurant, and Malbec

Choices are good.
Choices are terrifying.
Choices are God's way of saying, "Hey, human, trust Me; you and I got this, and don't worry, there's no choice that can't be undone."

I'm a holy terror in a restaurant. I eyeball and dissect every possibility. I'm usually the last to order so I can see what everyone else ordered because obviously their choices are going to be better than mine. I torture myself and the wait staff: suppose I order this (and I don't like it) or that (and someone gets something better)? What if I daringly order a house-special cocktail and I really hate it instead of going with something safe, like a glass of Malbec?

Now take that food-ordering mentality and make it macro.

What if I mess up? What if I make the wrong decision? What if I disappoint myself and someone else? What if I make a choice and people stop loving me or leave me?

Here's the beautiful thing about having a relationship with the Holy One of Blessing: Unle…