In 79 AD, Pliny the Elder died during the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. His nephew, Pliny the Younger escaped the destruction of Pompeii and left a written account of the eruption. His description of the scene is all the more powerful for his attention to details, such as people holding cushions over their heads to protect them from the ashes of the volcano. Details matter. They enrich our lives, yet often are missed or unappreciated.
I love the Midrash that describes the 50 miracles of the Splitting of the Sea, not so much for the miracles, as for their description of God’s attention to the smallest details. God wanted Israel to experience His love through all the small acts of kindness He performed even at a moment when all they wanted to do was escape the approaching Egyptian chariots and hordes. They were running for their lives, and God provided water fountains. They were escaping certain death and God was busy decorating the floor of the sea with mosaics. God was teaching them that He would pay attention to every possible need each individual may have.
We are in the process of counting the 49 Days of the Omer. Each day has its specific message. Each day, each detail, matters. The Foundation Stone is happy to post the 49 Midot HaYom – To Rise From Redemption to Revelation. They are based on The Avot of Rabbi Nathan, usually studied each Shabbat from Pesach to Rosh Hashana. We dedicate them in the merit of Avraham Daniel Mordechai ben Miriam Sarah. May he be blessed with a speedy and complete recovery.
We too, are paying attention to details and have posted the Haftarot of the final days of Pesach: A Life of Song and The Unsung Song. We also, miraculously remembered to post the Haftarah for this coming Shabbat: Courage. A Pesach edition of The Music of Halacha addresses Holy Sweat and the many details of the preparation of the Omer in the Temple. Shabbat Words reminds us of the important details of our speech, as does Rabbi Irwin Katsof’s latest contribution to Words Can Heal: How To Let Your Father Know You Care. Bentzion Meltzer generously offers a Story of the Baal Shem Tov in honor of Pesach and Chapter 132 of the Keter Shem Tov.
Thank you to all who participated in The Foundation Stone Haggadah. We hope that it will be only the first of our virtual Beit Midrash’s efforts.
Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg