This weekend, Jewish communities the world over celebrated Shavuot — the festival celebrating the giving and receiving of Torah. In the liturgy we use as we count the Omer — marking the fifty day journey from Pesach to Shavuot, and from liberation to revelation — we are called upon to come before God at the end of these seven weeks with a new offering, a mincha hadasha. Just as we are about to receive Torah anew — preparing for new wisdom to be revealed and for ancient words to ring with the freshness of dawn — we are meant to bring ourselves anew to this encounter and to offer up from ourselves new gifts.
My new offering is “The Gifts You Bring” — a song that I wrote last week with members of the Friendship Circle (a local group of elders who meet for lunch and learning each week at the Jewish Federation). Have a listen!
Here’s how this works: I brought them the chorus, “Give your gifts to the new day/Lift them up in your own way/The gifts you bring.” Then I invited them to reflect on the gifts that they had been given in this life and the gifts they hope to pass on. They wrote their thoughts down and I slipped into the next room to put the song together.
Meanwhile, in keeping with our Shavuot theme, they ate ice cream. When all the ice cream was gone, it was time to offer back to the the gifts they had shared with me.
May we all be blessed to find new gifts within ourselves and offer them freely. This world is incomplete without your gifts, your voice, your songs!
One gift I have been receiving recently is the heartwarming feedback I’ve been hearing about my new album, “at the edge of the unknown.” My favorite so far is this “consumer complaint” from Rabbi Randy Kafka. She writes:
“Minna, there’s a problem with playing your CD in my car….Your songs and your voice move me to tears, and I arrive at my destination with red eyes and a runny nose.”
Perhaps it should come with a warning label?
What is your unique offering to this world? Post a comment below or find me on Twitter or Facebook.