This is a picture of a large fire that has died down and is now just a small flame. This picture represents my Jewish growth. There is a concept that fire/אֵשׁ represents the Torah. When I go on an NCSY Shabbaton, to JSU, a JSP session, or I learn with an advisor or mentor, I feel very inspired. To me, a large fire would represent my inspiration and passion for Torah and Judaism at its peak. Although sometimes I find myself struggling to not let my fire die down, when I leave one of these events, the inspiration sticks with me for a little bit but slowly trickles away and inspiration becomes harder to find.
There is a story about one our great Sages, Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva was completely uneducated about his Judaism and knew no Torah until he was 40 years old. It wasn’t until one day when he walked passed a well and saw a rock with a big hole in it. He noticed that there was a very small drop of water that continuously dripped onto the rock, and after a long time the small drop of water began to create a hole in the rock. He thought to himself that if something as soft as water can penetrate a rock, how much more so can Torah, which is as powerful as fire, penetrate his heart. Rabbi Akiva took this moment of inspiration and acted upon it. He then began to learn Torah for 24 years straight, he accumulated 24,000 students, who we are mourning for during this Sefira period.
I hope to be able to be like Rabbi Akiva in the way that he acted on his inspiration. One way that I can keep my flame from burning out is maintaining inspiration in my everyday life. I will be able to better keep my inspiration with me if after having this spark of inspiration, I write down what exactly inspired me. For example, if something that I learned on a Shabbaton was inspiring to me, when I get home from the Shabbaton, before I forget what I learned, I will write it down so I can keep the inspiration with me during times when it is harder to find. Another way I plan to continue being inspired is by learning Torah on a weekly basis. I plan to regularly learn with an advisor about something that interests and inspires me to make sure my flame never burns out!