After the beginning of Pesach, we count 49 days to the next major Jewish holiday, Shavuot. Ironically, though Shavuot is considered one of the top five biggest biblical holidays (next to Pesach, Sukkot, Rosh HaShanah, and Yom Kippur), most of us scratch our heads when we think about how best to commemorate a holiday based solely around the first wheat harvest in Israel. For thousands of years, our rabbis considered this dilemma too and connected Shavuot with the giving of Torah—a gift as precious and nourishing as the wheat harvested from the field.
An adage from rabbinic literature goes, “Without flour, there can be no Torah. And without Torah, there can be no flour.” Undoubtedly, the author of this quote was referring to the fact that each one of us needs to be engaged in work that provides for our body just as much as the Torah provides food for our mind and soul. This is the ancient precursor to achieving a “work-life balance.”
We must prioritize feeding ourselves before we can study Torah. We cannot expect to learn on an empty stomach. But if all we do is work to nourish our bodies and never attend to the needs of our souls, then all that work is purposeless. I hope you’ll join one of our many ways to provide that purpose in your life. Whether you want to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the unhoused, or heal our environment, we have a way to help you help others.
In the days and weeks leading up to Shavuot, let us combine the work of our hands with the work of our hearts through acts of tikkun olam—repairing the world.