Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting in touch with our (dirty!) hands

From Early Spring Planting Day 2011

One of my favorite parts of counting the Omer with Minna every night during this season from Passover to Shavuot is when she recites the final words of the meditation before the blessing:

וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ, כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ; וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ, כּוֹנְנֵהוּ
The works of our hands -- establish them for us! The works of our hands, establish them!
These words -- a quote of the Psalmist (Ps. 90) imploring God to do this establishing -- came to mind, today, as I was working with my hands (and getting dirt under my fingernails) in the little garden in our backyard. It felt especially satisfying to transplant the four little plants in the picture above -- we not only grew each one from seed, but we had saved the seeds from plants we had grown last year. (We had even taken some of the seeds -- soaking in water as they must for a few days before you dry them -- on a short bicycle tour we took to Lancaster County at the end of last summer.)

I stand in my own sort of middle space right now during this middle time in the 50-day count of the Omer -- a short break between a very busy (but productive!) semester of graduate study at NYU and an exciting return soon to the role of a chaplaincy educator/supervisor in a busy summer in a CPE program at The Jewish Theological Seminary (which starts on Monday). In this middle time, it is important for me to care for my spirit as much as I can. Cycling and gardening are two of the most important ways I engage in that self care, so I felt really centered and happy, today, as I worked my hands in the dirt.

May it be the will of the Blessed Holy One that all the work of your hands shall be upheld -- firmly established! And may your own summer be a productive and joyful one.


Another sign of Spring has been these baby birds hatching in a nest their parents built in our porch light. Minna took this picture only a little more than a week ago, but already all of these little guys have (literally) flown the next.

Fly on, little guys!

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