Lag B’Omer in 2020

Lag B’Omer in 2020

Shalom Chaverim,

“There is nothing more whole than a broken heart,” said Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk (1787–1859), also known as the Kotzker Rebbe. Tonight the Jewish people welcome a lesser known, somewhat mystical, Jewish holiday, Lag B’Omer. MyJewishLearning summarizes it’s key elements in this great article.

As a child, I remember this fun holiday featuring BBQs, bonfires, and whiffle ball games with friends and family. Most of that is not possible right now.

It is fascinating that tonight we are instructed to take a break from this “period of semi-mourning,” as we arrive at the 33rd day of our count off from Passover to Shavuot (Sferat Ha’Omer). A popular notion is that on this day the mysterious plague which killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students suddenly ended. This very well might have been Akiva’s students’ death count in the Bar Kochba rebellion (132 C.E.) against the Romans, and the rabbis needed to choose their language carefully for the political ramifications. But I find it a little strange that of all things, it is a plague that is the chosen description for this massive loss.

Most of us have never experienced a pandemic. It is hard reading the daily news, let alone juggling all of the challenges that this intense disruption of our normal lives has created. But I would like to remind us all that spiritual highs in life are almost always preceded by lows.  Perhaps you can think of bending an elastic band back to give it the maximum thrust forward. That might be where we are at right now. If you feel that you are experiencing a low point in your life, this might be a perfect time for you to recognize that you are generating spiritual energy that will bring you to a higher consciousness. Whenever we are going through hard times, there is an opening to your heart. You become more compassionate, more thoughtful, more soft and loving. These spiritual qualities will lead you to a better destiny.

I hope that this newsletter finds you and your loved ones healthy. And I pray that our own mysterious plague will end soon. But  in the meantime, happy Lag B’Omer, and I hope that you can recognize when your spiritual energy is building despite any low points you encounter.

Gratefully yours,

Josh

Josh Troderman

About Josh Troderman

Joshua Troderman, CEO of ShalomLearning has been a passionate innovator of Jewish education for the last 19 years. Josh has held teaching and administrative positions at a number of Jewish day schools, synagogues, and summer camps, including The Rashi School, The Rodeph Shalom Day School, The Kesher Community Hebrew School, The Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Camp Ramah, Camp Edward Isaacs, and Storahtelling. Since 2009, Josh has also directed JChoice.org, a giving platform that empowers Jewish youth to learn about and experience the mitzvah of Tzedakah. Josh holds a master’s degree in Jewish Education (2005) from The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. He lives in Brookline, MA with his wife and two children, and can be seen playing keyboards and singing on Thursdays with his soul and funk band called The New Mother Earth.