I’ve had some incredible Shavuots, both here and in the States, but for some reason, every year that I celebrate it in Jerusalem (this is the third or fourth time), there’s some limitation on me. This is at least the second time I’ve been too sick to be able to stay up all night learning, as is the custom. Tonight I’ll go to a friend’s for dinner and some Torah–some of which from his 86 year-old Jewish scholar grandfather–and then hit a class or two out in the big world (lots of synagogues and yeshivot have amazing programs with some of this town’s most stellar teachers and rabbis) as energy and health permit, but with this insane, hacking cough, there’s definitely not going to be a 5am trip to the Kotel (Western Wall) for me–that’s just more than my body can handle at the moment. Last year there was some other external reason why I couldn’t stay up, I forget what, but I made it to about 2 or 3am and then it was time to go home. I’d love to stay up all night in theory, but I don’t have a lot of attachment to it in practice. Some years, that will be the right thing, and some years, the tikkun needs to happen on the level of physical care rather than mental/spiritual marathons. I’m sure that even with my shortened period of study I will find some delicious learning tonight, and that the heavens will indeed open up, pouring fourth Divine radiance, like they do. But this might just happen without a visit to the Kotel at the end, is all.
By hook or by crook, I made it through counting the omer this year, said the bracha last night on 49. Sometimes it’s the small miracles that make us boggle.
Hag sameach to one and all. May you experience revelation in many ways, great and small.
Yay for self-care. 🙂
I can’t aim for all-night, either; tomorrow morning I have to drive to Boston to see a new specialist, as part of the ongoing search to figure out what caused the strokes. (I’ve been telling myself that this year, I’m looking for a slightly different form of revelation…) I’m not a night owl, but I like all-nighters of this kind. I liked all-nighters at the hospital when I was doing my chaplaincy year, too. There’s something about middle-of-the-night consciousness that just can’t be duplicated during the day. Well — there will be other years. 🙂
Chag sameach! Wishing you a sweet one.
Mazal tov on completing the Omer count!
I like this explanation of the Shavuot dairy custom:
The Shulchan Arukh writes in Yoreh De’ah that we should make a [festive] meal at every completion of a mitzvah. . . . So we should make a meal [on Shavuot to mark] the end of counting the Omer. But we can’t make this meal with meat, because the reason wouldn’t be recognizable — it would look like a regular meal to honor yom tov. So we make a dairy meal.
— Beit Aharon, cited in Mat’amim.