I’ve been thinking a lot about revelations. And not necessarily the loud-as-thunder-on-the-top-of a-mountain-sort, as we associate with Moses receiving the ten commandments on Mount Sinai which we commemorate next week on Shavout.
But I’ve been thinking about quieter revelations.
At a recent bible study, which Dan’s been leading for several years, we explored the ten commandments. In our three-hour-session we made it through only the first four. One participant, in response to the fourth commandment, shared how hard it has been - but also how meaningful - to stop checking his email on Shabbat.
It can seem overwhelming, too hard to even consider going from a lifestyle of non-observance, to taking on something so life-altering. But something small, something quiet, can provide such a huge shift in consciousness.
One Shavuot, near a decade ago, I watched mesmerized as a man strummed his steel blues guitar singing a Hebrew melody. It was Jeremiah Lockwood, who I didn’t know at the time, but who would become such an integral partner of Because Jewish, bringing his music and artistry to our High Holy Days, and opportunities to sing and learn with our community.
I’ve been noticing more and more how people enter and re-enter my life. How certain dreams repeat. How some lessons resurface until I’ve grasped them.
Dan and I met, the first time, four years prior to being set up on a blind date. I wasn’t ready for the revelation the first time.
This Shavuot marks the sixteenth anniversary of my arrival in New York City. I moved in with my best friend on 23rd Street in Brooklyn, June of 2001, next to the Green-Wood cemetery. Certain places become touchstones, and that is one for me. I can get lost in a lushness, and it feels entirely apart from the city. As we began planning Lament at Green-Wood for Tisha B'av this July, I remembered that I’d wandered there snapping photographs and jotting down thoughts for a blog I kept some years back.
There’s a certain intoxication that happens each Spring — the beauty, the light, the amazing line-up of outdoor events.
And yet, certain types of wheat live year-round, the colors shifting from gold to amber to brown. There’s a distinct crunching that can be heard when you whoosh your hand through the winter wheat.
I’m keeping this in my heart, this Spring, as we celebrate the harvest festival of Shavuot. That it’s not always a sudden abundance, a booming revelation, but sometimes a quiet whoosh, a slower learning, that can sustain us from one season to the next.