A Message from Mimi… May /25/2019 Iyar/20/5779

Dear Sisters,

The past few weeks I have been writing about the focus that we have during this time of year, the Omer period between Pesach and Shavuos, on self-growth and character development.  I shared how there are 7 weeks in this time period, with each week having its own theme to concentrate on.  I elaborated on the idea of Tiferes (balance and harmony) and on the concept of Netzach (endurance).  As we head closer to celebrating receiving the Torah on Sinai, we continue this process of striving to be better people.
In Temple times, there was a special offering brought on Pesach called a Korban Omer.  Consisting of barley, it was brought on the 16th of Nissan (the second day of Pesach), and it signified that all new crops were now permitted to be eaten.  Seven weeks later, on Shavuos, the Jews in Temple times brought another special offering.  This consisted of two loaves of bread made from the finest, high quality flour.
The offerings of Pesach and Shavuos symbolize the internal work we do during this 7-week period.  We start the process similar to barley, rough and unfinished, yet hearty and energized.  Through the work of the 7 weeks of the Omer period, we refine ourselves, polishing and perfecting our character until we resemble the essence of the high quality, finished loaves of bread offered on Shavuos.
I want to point out something very interesting about this time period.  Notice that the 7 weeks are called Omer, named for the beginning of the process when the Korban Omer of barley was offered.  It is not called “The Time We Work Toward Receiving the Torah” nor “The Weeks of Self-Improvement”!  It is named for our state of imperfection, for the beginning of our journey when we are rough, unfinished products.
I think the message here is really important.  As much as life is about making ourselves and the world more perfect, it’s also okay that we are all unfinished products.  Like diamonds in the rough, each of us has inherent beauty amid our imperfections.  We may have lots of internal work to do, but we are also so very special exactly where we are right now.  The barley, although mainly used as animal food, was the essence of a precious and anticipated offering!  It was accepted as a gift to G-d Himself!   Even in our unfinished states the Almighty always loves us.
We are all surrounded by unfinished products.  Our spouse, kids, relatives, boss, coworkers, everyone is a work in progress.  As much as we accept our own imperfections, we often have a harder time tolerating them in others.  This Shabbos, take a few minutes to absorb the idea that if G-d Himself can love every person despite his or her shortcomings, (when G-d knows better than anyone else what potential for greatness each one has!) then we certainly can work on that ourselves.  We can cut ourselves a break, and also work on extending that courtesy to the people in our life who are also not yet perfect.
Have a wonderful Shabbos (the barley in my cholent is going to have a new message for me this week!),
Mimi David
PS  Join us for fun and inspiration — it’s what we do best at Aish and JWS!
Monday, May 27 — Memorial Day BBQ 2 pm @ Millennium Park.  Come hang with me 🙂
Tuesday, May 28 — St. Louis Mikvah Association will be launching a matching grant campaign to raise $200,000 for much needed renovations and enhancements.  Those of you who have benefited from our local mikvah, or have seen the mikvah in Tsfat, know how crucial this is for the spirituality of our community.  Please help this vital campaign on Tuesday!  Link to donate on 5/28 is www.charidy,com/stlouismikvah.
***SAVE THE DATE!***  Tuesday, June 4 special guest lecturer Rivki Silver has an awesome life story, a big part of which happened right here in St. Louis.  7:30 pm @ Aish