Today we celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer, which is the 49-day period of time between Passover (when the Jews were freed as slaves) and Shavuot (when we received the Torah on Mt. Sinai). There are a number of interpretations of the importance of Lag B’Omer, where it came from, and what it commemorates. However, it’s broadly accepted that the holiday has deep spiritual significance with ties to Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. So, on this day of spiritual importance, it’s worth noting that one of the lessons we learned during COVID was that our spiritual life matters.
This past year, we lived very conspicuously in the material world. From tracking COVID cases daily (which created material change in the world) to finding essential objects in short supply (like toilet paper, masks, hand sanitizer and even vaccines) to homeschooling our kids (which created genuine challenges with sharing space in our homes) to buying piles of material objects from delivery places like Amazon, we spent too much time this past year in the material world. And what we learned is that material objects can’t save us. They can help make us more comfortable. They can improve our lives at a certain level if we are not ascetics. But they cannot fill emptiness we feel inside. They cannot enrich our souls. COVID taught us that we must be mindful of a deeper layer of connection to the world around us. We must embrace our spirit. At the end of the day, they only thing that can’t be taken from us is what we carry in our hearts. So along with engaging in the material world, we must nurture our spiritual lives too.