Nearing the completion of the Omer, a little rocky to remember the first week but accomplished, much easier since, even with recent travel where I took a small Omer card. While the upward counting of the Omer implies an ascent to from Exodus to Torah, I think of Pesach as the crest of the calendar year with high grade ritual and Shavuot as a denouement, a festival much less celebrated and largely devoid of imaging. It coincides with Memorial Day this year, enabling me the days away from the office, though I will need to pass through the hospital at the midpoint. It coincides by season with graduations, waning days of the public school calendar, planting the gardens, all which add to the seasonal elements of the Festival itself. I am one of the Torah readers for Bamidbar the day before. Even Torah moves on to its next phase.
While the Yontiff has little formality, dairy meals pose a pleasurable challenge. Not elaborate meals like Seder, no major restrictions of content or recipe, but something a little different just the same. Sometimes new preparation, but more typically the blintzes and kugel and quiche. Horn & Hardardt Macaroni and Cheese, one of my favorites this year. I have apples so apple walnut pie.
Never got enthused about overnight studying the night before, would much rather rest up for the Festival. But if any ritual has emerged in recent years it has been the rising popularity of people who are otherwise passive in their learning, partaking of whatever the Rabbi feeds them in his Aliyah Sound Bites, going out of their way at an inconvenient time to add to their Jewish knowledge.
But still a few more days of Omer to go.