Growing up in a Conservative home in America, I eagerly anticipated Passover's arrival each year. Perhaps because it was the closest my family got to Jewish tradition. Putting aside the chametz, buying special food, organizing two seders – it was inexplicably exhilarating given that I was pretty clueless as to its relevance. Some vestiges of observance – like avoiding anything containing corn syrup like a plague (don't ask me which) – we guarded zealously though halachah (a word I didn't even hear until decades later) was long lost. As the best Hebrew speaker in our home (apparently I was one of the few paying attention in our thrice-weekly Hebrew school), I cherished the responsibility of reading the parts of the Maxwell House haggadah I knew along with family & friends. For that week at least, we were identifiable as Jews everywhere we went, eating matzah "sandwiches" in school or work, at national parks and on the lawn of Ft. McHenry.

Moving to Israel after college, I discovered that shortly before my birthday there's a day off work seemingly devoted to eating dairy products (blintzes & cheesecake – here I come!).

With the help of G‑d, nine years ago I became Torah-observant. Suddenly, my favorite childhood holiday became much more meaningful. The extensive preparations for Passover began immediately after Purim!

But the connection between Passover and Shavuot continued to elude me. Yes, I "got" the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt. I understood that G‑d's mercifully granted us an early redemption from slavery to avoid our becoming indistinguishable from the depraved inhabitants. I learned about the unprecedented, clear revelations at the splitting of the Reed Sea, where every single Jewish person merited being an eye witness to no fewer than fifty separate miracles. G‑d's might and personal involvement with the Children of Israel were evident to the entire world. How was all this linked to devouring whipped-cream covered delicacies?

I've learned a lot. It turns out that the main event on Shavuot was G‑d's giving the Torah to His chosen people. Still, when Shavuot arrived each year, I felt totally unprepared and had mostly forgotten the spiritual high of the seder night.

G‑d works in amazing ways. For the past 30 years, every winter I'd set a goal weight to reach by my birthday, only to be extremely disappointed in myself when I inevitably failed. In January 2008, I decided to finally give myself a fighting chance to succeed by starting a year and a half in advance of my birthday. Only G‑d knew that my sincere willingness to change would lead me to becoming an active, recovering member of local 12-step groups. My compulsive overeating is only one of the unhealthy habits of a wounded and powerless adult-child reacting to stressful situations. I, just for today (and hopefully for the rest of my life), am responsible for my own choices and remind myself that results are up to G‑d.

I humbly admit that I cannot get to Mount Sinai on my own. My mission is to move forward to the best of my abilities, every day, with the intention of faithfully serving G‑d. By striving to do His will, I become a worthy recipient of His limitless bounty.

On Passover, G‑d reveals a glimpse of the awe-inspiring reality hidden in everyday living. On Shavuot, through His caring love for us, He bestows upon us an invaluable present – the Torah. And guess what? – if during the intervening period – the Omer – we take small, positive steps i.e. work the 12 steps, and are willing to do G‑d's will, we own that wonderful gift.