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Emor 5783

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Rabbi Geier


BS"D || Rabbi Geier

Emor 5783

Some time ago, I read a very interesting story by an Argentine author that I would like to share with you. It is about an impatient young man who wanted to grow up quickly to live an independent life.

The much-desired stage was delayed in arriving and the young man, unable to contain his anxiety, became upset with the vagaries of time.

One night, an angel appeared to the young man, bringing with him a heavenly gift:

"This is a ball of silk threads," he told him.

"With the help of this ball, you can avoid long waits. When you want to anticipate some event in your life, you just have to pull the strings, and the future will become the present. Just be careful and use it wisely," he warned.

The young man received the divine gift with enthusiasm, pulled the string, and in seconds, he became an adult. He looked around and realized that he was at an elegant social event. There, he met a woman who ignited the spark of love that nested in his heart. 

However, the wait to see that woman become his wife was too heavy for him. It was then that he pulled the strings again, and that woman was -in white- standing next to him under the wedding canopy. Then, he pulled the ball again for his first child to be born. Nine months were too much for him... then the second. Then, he pulled the string again so that they both could grow. The man's grandchildren were born with a new thread pull, and all this happened without any expectation thanks to this heavenly gift. The man grew old and tired. He tugged at the thread once more, almost out of inertia, but this time there was no more thread to pull. He had reached the end of the ball...

It was then that the same angel appeared to him and said: "I warned you to be careful, but I see that you did not listen to me. Those threads were your life, and this one has also come to an end." The man breathed his last breath and passed away.

Since his first meeting with the angel, only a month had passed

Most of our lives are spent waiting. We hope to achieve greatness, to get married, to have children, to see our children get married, and to welcome grandchildren into the world. These may not be everyone's dreams, but in a moment of realization, everyone knows what they have been waiting for in life, and sometimes it arrives late, or it has not yet arrived and the wait continues. Whether it is for trips, reunions, vacations, or any other goal, the author of the story suggests that we almost always live in a state of waiting

The act of waiting is often viewed as a burden, but it can actually be quite useful. It gives us the opportunity to prepare ourselves for the future and to develop a sense of longing and desire for what is to come. This can even inspire us to approach our goals in a more thoughtful and deliberate way. Additionally, if we fill the waiting period with shared experiences and moments with those closest to us, we can transform what was once a frustrating and isolating experience into a joyous and communal one.

There are famous stories in the Torah that involve waiting. Yaakov Avinu, worked seven years for his beloved Rachel "and they were in his eyes like a few (few) days for the love he had for her" (Bereishit 29:20). The waiting, in his case, only intensified his love for her.

Another famous wait is linked to the time of year that we go through these days in the Hebrew calendar. It is the counting of the Omer that is mentioned in this week's parashah.

"And you will count for you from the day after the first holiday, from the day you brought the sheaf of tenufah, seven weeks; (seven weeks) they will be complete" (VaIkrá 23, 15).

Why wait seven weeks from the moment of our freedom -on Pesach- until the moment of the giving of our Torah? Why were the Israelites not worthy of receiving the Torah immediately after leaving Egypt?

Rabbi Yitzhak says in the midrash: "Israel should have received the Torah immediately upon leaving Egypt. It so happens that the Holy One said: My children have not yet recovered from the slavery of clay and bricks, and they cannot receive the Torah immediately"?

What does this look like?

To a king whose son was ill. The teacher (of the young man) said to the king: "Your son must return to his school." The king told him: "My son has not yet finished recovering from his illness... and you tell me that he must go back to school?! First of all, my son will recover for three months by means of food and the drink, and then he will return to his school.

Thus, the Blessed Saint said: "My children have not yet recovered from the slavery of clay and bricks... and I give them the Torah immediately? Better they will recover two or three months by means of manna, the well of water, and the quails and then I will give them the Torah" (Kohelet Rabbah 3).

From this it follows that waiting is essential in life.

If an angel were to visit us with a ball of silk in their hand, we should be careful not to be tempted to pull that thread. Instead, we should gently wrap it and keep it among our most precious possessions. This is because waiting is an integral part of life, as demonstrated by Yaakov's wait for Rachel's love and our own wait to receive the Torah on the holiday of Shavuot. It is up to us to transform these waits into unforgettable moments..

We are in the second half of the Omer count. If you have not yet been moved by the imminent delivery of the Torah, take a moment to review all the moments from your childhood when the Torah and its teachings, mandates, and laws brought you together with your family and community in ways that marked your life.

That is the preparation that this particular counting proposes to us. It suggests reevaluating the moments we've had in the past, but also striving to create meaningful moments for our loved ones in the future, so that one day they too can look back and do the same for those who come after them.

The ball is there. Don't pull on it. Just hold it tight and carefully and enjoy every moment.

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