Today is day #2 of the Omer, that counts (and recounts) the journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai. We embark onward, toward our selves.
Today, we think about kvetching and kvelling.
Kvetching is that typically Jewish act of complaining, loudly and regularly about things big and small. We kvetch about our families. We kvetch about our kids. We kvetch about our jobs, spouses/partners, the economy, the government… everything. Our biblical ancestors kvetched during their desert trek about the food, the lack of water, the danger from enemies, about Moses’ leadership. Such a typical Jewish act, and yet, kvetching is profoundly the antithesis of what it means to be authentically Jewish.
To be a Jew is to be a kveller! Kvelling means to praise. Kvelling lets others know that good things are happening. It leads us to count our blessings. We could be praising the important things: our health, our relative wealth (we always have more than others somewhere), the roof over our heads, the community of which we are part… The ancient rabbis teach us that we should say 100 blessings each day. I try to teach that we should try to count 3 or 12 or 18 things each day that are blessings in our lives. 3 or 12 or 18 things worthy of kvelling about to ourselves and others.
We have an easier time kvetching than kvelling. Yet as we journey forth toward Sinai, let’s be the blessing God intended us to be. We can make strides in that direction but counting blessings as we count the days. We can go the distance by distancing ourselves from kvetches.
Today is day two of the Omer. Begin counting your kvells! (And let me know how it feels).