We are in the midst of our longest Jewish counting period, the counting of the Omer between Passover and Shavuot, from freedom to responsibility.
It seems to be part of human nature to count.
We are always counting.
Is there a parent who doesn’t count the fingers and toes of a newborn baby ? Or the steps up or down with a toddler in tow?
We count days until birthdays and vacations.
We are always counting.
We especially count time.
We count the minutes to candlelighting and then the minutes until Shabbat is over.
We count the days until a brit and the years until a child becomes a b’nai mitzvah.
We count the days of Sukkot and Pesach.
We count the days of shiva and the months of mourning.
We are always counting
We count our wealth and we count the years of a life lived well.
And on occasion, we even play with time to make it suit our needs as this picture of last week’s Shabbat dinnner shows when the children FINALLY found the afikoman hidden at Passover.
Perhaps a sign of being human is our awareness of the passing of time ; we have little control over it. We can only record its passage.
Here are some books to help contemplate time.
Jewish Woman’s Prayerbook
Timechart History of Jewish Civilization
Beer, The Pure Element of Time
Benjamin, Shuli and Me from Slavery to Freedom: a storybook Omer calendar (JUV)
Cardin, The Tapestry of Jewish Time: a spiritual guide to holidays and life cycle events.
Carlebach, Palaces of Time: Jewish Calendar and Culture in Early Modern Europe
Cox, Common Prayer: faith, family and a Christian’s journey through the Jewish year
Fishbane, The Sabbath Soul: mystical reflections on the transformative power of holy time.
Fox, A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up : a rereading of Ecclesiastes
Ganz, Follow the Moon through the Jewish Year (JUV)
Keret, The Seven Good Years : a memoir
Klagsbrun, Jewish Days : a book of Jewish life and culture around the world
Milgram, Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice : holy days and Shabbat
Rubinger, Israel through my Lens : sixty years as a photojournalist
Sarna, A Time to Every Purpose : letters to a young Jew
Shulevitz, The Sabbath World : glimpses of a different order of time
Sper, The Kids’ Fun Book of Jewish Time (JUV)
Spiro, A Time to Mourn : Judaism and the psychology of bereavement
Wouk, Sailor and Fiddler : reflections of a 100-year-old author
Ziff, Mirrors in Time:a psycho-spiritual journey through the Jewish year