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From my Table: Shavuos 5781

A few days after Pesach, we had a(n absolutely beautiful) family wedding. For a good few weeks, I was extremely busy pulling lots of details together, including making sure everyone had all the parts and pieces they needed for the wedding and the pre- and post-wedding events.

Actually, I wouldn’t use the word “busy.” I would say I had become hyper-focused on getting it all done. Timing was like living a high-stakes Tetris game. And since the big event was so close to Pesach, my lists kept growing.

A wedding is a deadline just like any other deadline, except that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience surrounded by other, smaller, but no less important experiences that all need to run smoothly. There was simply no room to get distracted.

And in the days leading up to the wedding, I didn’t. (Which is probably why the production team may or may not have nudged me for this particular Shavuos supplement letter once or twice.) Once I was in that mode, it was hard for me to force myself to stop running and clear my mind in order to work on a deep-in-the-future grid or to sit down and write a relevant letter. (I got it done in the end, as you see.)

Answering work questions, making layout suggestions, and tweaking font sizes are easy to flit in and out of. But where more thought is necessary, a split (and very tired) mind is just not going to work. Busy is my MO, but when you’re this focused on one big thing, you can’t focus on any other big things. The proof is in the pudding, considering this letter is all about the big thing I can’t help but be pulled to.

Sometimes I feel like I need to get into the “wedding planning” frame of mind more often — single-minded focus, one eye on the to-do list, one eye on the clock, not leaving much room for distractions. If you care that much about something, it grabs your attention, and everything else in your life gets viewed in relation to that one priority.

To me, this is the ultimate goal of Shavuos: shifting that laser-like focus to accepting and living the Torah without rationalization or distraction. Once that’s mastered, fitting everything else in our lives to work around our true focus should be natural progression.

May we be zocheh to accept the Torah this year in person, together with the coming of Mashiach!

Food Editor, Family Table

(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 740)

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