Ma hasha’ah? What time is it?
There is a difference between being ‘on time’ and ‘in time’. What time are we in? It is Chodesh Iyar, the month of healing. Iyar is said to stand for, “Ani Hashem Rofecha,” I am G-d your healer. What time have we come from? Passover, the exodus from Egypt’s slavery and constraint to freedom. And what time are we approaching? The month of Sivan, where we will celebrate Shavuot and the giving of the Torah, where the Jewish people are first born into a nation in a spiritual and earthly sense. What about the time in between?
The month of Iyar also is called Ziv, meaning light or blossom. During this time we count the omer-49 days of internal reflection to ready us for the task of creating and maintaining our freedom. We focus on the emotional and psychological dimensions of what it means to be free and in control of our destinies because slavery inevitably leaves wounds and the deepest slavery can rest just below the surface, internally, and if the wounds are not addressed, it won’t matter if there is no chains or Pharoah, we are likely to recreate slavery for ourselves and others.
So this season of Iyar or Ziv is a time for wounds to blossom into wisdom. Then, as theologian Henry Nouwen says, we can embody a most transformative spirit of a wounded healer, “nobody escapes being wounded. We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The question is not how can we hide our wounds so we do not have to be embarrassed, but how can we put our woundedness in service to others?”
This is exactly what happened when a Black American diplomat, still under Jim Crow in the United States, tapped into his spirit of the wounded healer and brokered the first Arab-Israeli armistice accord in April of 1949, becoming the first Black American Nobel Laureate, Dr. Ralph Bunche. In his Nobel acceptance speech, he said, “The well-being and hope of the people of the world can never be served until peace-as well as freedom, honor, and self-respect is secure.”
Yet to know for himself full recognition by the laws and deeds of the U.S. of the time, because of his self-respect and lived experience of freedom deferred, this wounded healer’s service to the infant modern State of Israel brought us steps closer to the healing we all are continuing to seek and to refine.
So may we also rise in service to humanity’s continued need for peacemakers. Let our wounds blossom into wisdom.
ChodeshTov and Yom Ha’Atzmaut Sameach!