Friday, April 27, 2012


Spring is here. Flowers are in bloom. I sit on my patio feeling the breeze, enjoying the fresh air and admiring the trees. The beauty of nature permeates my soul.  A joyful calm is within me. Suddenly the noise begins, a grinding sound from a motor appears. I can hear the blades spinning. I look up to see the workmen climbing high on their ladders holding the chainsaw as the loud buzzing sound continues disturbing my serenity. 

My first reaction is annoyance. Who do they have to do this now? I am content in my peaceful place. Can't they do this on another day when I'm not here? Why don't they come back when I'm inside, not on a magnificent day like today? My anger mounts. I notice the change in my body. Discomfort appears, taking the place where peacefulness was. Then suddenly I realize, I am the one disturbing my own tranquility. Is what I see all that there is?

I struggle to make peace with the noise. My beautiful green bountiful yard is being slaughtered. The lush green paradise is coming down. The sounds from the heavy palm fronds falling to the ground can be heard. My serenity is being shredded, branch by branch.  A quiet sadness comes over me as I watch the lustrous green branches tumble from the treetops. It will be bare for months until the beauty returns to my peaceful place. AlI I will see is raw sliced-open branches of the trees, dry and colorless.  I impulsively call my husband asking him "What are they doing my yard, why does this landscaper cut so much off, can't they take less each time and come more often?" "Don't worry it will grow back soon," he reassured me, "we have to do this, the trees need it so they can grow new leaves and grow back more beautiful than they were before." 

And then, it hit me... I need to do the same for myself. I need to cut back so that I can re-grow. 

Spring is here. 
It's time to get rid of the old and bring in the new.  We clean our houses, empty garages, and cut back our yards, it's also time to cleanse our souls. Our old behaviors, negative character traits, and harmful words need to be shredded and thrown away so that we can make room for the new. As long as the "old" remains, the "new" cannot grow. 

Each night we count the omer. We recite the blessing which asks Hashem to purify us from our evil and uncleanness.  For seven full weeks we count so that the souls of Klal Yisrael may be cleansed from their defilement, so that the blemishes that we have caused be rectified. May we be purified and sanctified with supernal holiness. May abundant bounty be bestowed. May it rectify our nefesh, ruach and neshama from every defect. May it rectify and purify us with Your supernal holiness.  

The omer is our spiritual landscaper. It's time to say good-bye to the blemishes, defects and negative traits. It's time for rectification and purification. It's time to cut back the old branches and grow new ones that will be more beautiful than the ones before. It's time to refresh, renew and readjust. 

Since it's not so simple to just stop the "old" harmful ways, a guide is necessary to take you through the process. Mussar learning is the guidebook. A teacher is required to lead you through the cleansing process and offer a new path to grow on. 

Spring is here. It's time to get rid of the old; refresh, renovate and discover a new you.
May Hashem bless you with bountiful blossoms as you become anew.

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