Festival of Weeks – Isaiah 41:8
Love doesn’t calculate. Love does not hear the discouraging voices. Love is innocent. Love yearns and it follows. But love does not ask: what will I gain? Could I really get there?
Scripture doesn’t throw around the term: “love” very lightly. In all of Scripture, Abraham is the only one that God describes as: “the one who loved me”. (It is said of Solomon: “and he loved the Lord” – 1 Kings 3:3, and David declares: “I love you Lord of my strength” – Psalm 18:2. Indeed, David’s love for God still inspires Israel today and Solomon wrote the ultimate love-song; Song of Songs, but Abraham still stands out with his love for God highlighted as a part of his very identity, and this from God, in the first person.)
Abraham did not know where his love would lead him to. Abraham did not know where it could possibly lead him to. How could a created being form a bond with the Creator of all? But love does not calculate – love just follows. Abraham saw that God is kindness, he followed kindness. Abraham saw that God is truth, he followed truth. He didn’t stop to ask himself: how could I ever reach God’s kindness or God’s truth? Abraham did not hear the discouraging voice that contended: “you will never be righteous in His eyes” – “you are inescapably tainted with the sin of Adam”. Abraham yearned and he followed.
Ruth didn’t calculate either. She didn’t ask herself: what hope is there for a Moabite widow in God’s nation? She just followed.
Israel didn’t calculate. They did not ask themselves: where will this relationship end up? How could we, created beings, form any meaningful relationship with the Creator of all? They just followed (Jeremiah 2:2).
The Festival of weeks is not about love. Passover is about love. Passover is when Israel followed God into the unknown, into the impossible. Passover is followed by seven weeks. Seven weeks of yearning. Seven weeks of following.
The Festival of weeks is God’s reciprocation to sincere love. On this day God reached out to Israel with an eternal embrace. He presented His beloved nation with the innermost expression of His will; His holy Torah. God formed an eternal bond with this nation that loved Him; a bond that would have been impossible to imagine. A bond between Creator and created. But love does not follow rules.
Ruth’s love brought David and Solomon to the world. Ruth’s love for God brought her to the center of God’s plan for the universe. She could never have dreamed of such an outcome. But love does not look at the outcome. Love simply follows.
God responded to Abraham’s love with Isaac, the child of laughter. Laughter – because it does not make sense. A child to a one hundred year old man?! Not just any child. But a child that will father a nation of human beings that will be granted an eternal commission from God – a commission to carry the truth, the holiness and the blessing of the Creator of all throughout the corridors of history. Is it possible for created beings to be entrusted with the work of the Creator of all?! Could Abraham have imagined that this is where his love would lead him to? Of-course not! But Abraham wasn’t looking for a payoff when he began his journey of love. Abraham simply loved, and love does not calculate.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal