this week I counted the complete cycle of seven weeks. It’s a very big accomplishment for me, because I haven’t completed a cycle of sefirah since I brought a sefirah chart home from school-like second grade. I went through a period when I was indifferent as to whether or not I counted-oh I made a half-hearted attempt to count, but I usually ‘got out’ within the first two weeks. One year I even missed the first night. Then I heard somewhere that some rabbi said that women shouldn’t even start with a bracha because they’re almost inevitably going to forget counting at some point. I think it was the year I was seminary. So of course, once I was told I couldn’t do something, I became determined to do it. I even signed up for my dad’s email reminders. But I didn’t make it to the computer everyday, and I didn’t make it through the third week. Last year, my friend forwarded sefirah reminders to me every night, but by the time I signed up, I had missed one. I think it was Friday night, because I didn’t get a text. This year I got reminders every single night, and I made a big effort to remember to count on Friday night, and I never once missed a night. It’s a pretty big deal.
Why do people correlate counting sefirah to eating cheesecake? It’s everywhere; on facebook “So-and-so is still counting with a bracha, I can almost taste the cheesecake”, my dad, “if you count the entire sefirah, you can even have a piece of cheesecake on erev yomtov"
it’s become a thing that you can only have cheesecake if you count. I’m not a massive cheesecake fan. We have a dairy meal every yomtov, and on Pesach we almost always have cheesecake. But why specifically connect the Shavuos food? Why not “you cleaned your room for pesach, now you can eat macaroons on Pesach”? Or “you listened to the shofar all elul, now you can have a piece of honey cake on Rosh Hashana”?
to me Shavuos is supposed to be a summer chag, but this year it started off feeling like Succos-the first night was freezing and rainy. but the weather made up for on the first day by being beautiful, and when i ventured out in another cute-but-uncomfortable pair of shoes, i was able to appreciate living in the suburbs. but when i got to shul, my neighbor informed me that they were about finished. it's the thought that counts, right?
my mom's a big fan of using machzorim on chagim, because you've got all the tefila and torah reading right there. but it's just as easy to use a siddur and chumash, and not have to worry about leaving my machzor in shul. especially since my machzor has pages and pages of extra piyutim that my shul (thankfully) doesn't say. so I'm content to use an Artscroll siddur. sometimes when i daven from them on Y't i feel like I'm reading one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books. because every thirty pages or so, there are ten lines at the bottom of the page redirecting you depending on what time of year and what day of the week it is.