From the time of the end of Passover until Shavuot (which ended last Thursday night), many Jews place restrictions on their behavior which I have written about before during the period of counting the Omer (49 days from Passover to the giving of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai).
Historically, this period was also one of a horrible plague that struck the students of the great Rabbi Akiva, and so certain mourning rituals were adopted during this period such as no weddings, no purchasing new clothing, and no listening to live music.
During this time, I listen to a cappella music (The Maccabeats and StandFour being my mainstays) and I actually just found out that the music restrictions lift on Lag B’Omer, which I didn’t know since I was not raised religious and I am still learning. So I ended up holding the “no music” restriction a few weeks longer than even my most stringent friends.
The main point is that I am finally listening to music again and it’s blowing my mind. I am crying, I am laughing, I am hearing things in The Decemberists and Tom Petty and Adele that I swear I never heard before. It’s profound and I love it. I am a musician and music is a very important part of my life. I missed it tremendously for the past 49 days, and my sons cannot wait until we can listen to music again in the car instead of mama singing “Bingo” and “Old McDonald” ad nauseum.
Just as we would tire of chocolate if we ate it every day, and we would tire of sex if we had it every day, and we would not value our dearest friends the same if we had to spend every single day with them, so too do all pleasures intensify when they are measured out, respected and guarded, protected and designated as different. When we taste them again, it is the sweetest and most profound deliciousness God created on this earth. I know it.
My boys know the Omer is over, too. We have been having sing-alongs and dance-athons in my living room like we haven’t heard music in years. It’s jubilant, joyous, and truly celebratory. I remind them that it feels so good to sing and dance like this because we abstained. I think they get it. They get that mama is singing and dancing like a sweaty crazy person and they love that.
The harvest is over, friends. It’s time to reap what we have sown. Happy Summer.