Before I skipped the holiday of Shavuos last year, I secretly broke Shabbos for months. I would check my BlackBerry in the bathroom, reading emails and Facebook but never responding. Eventually I grew bolder and started Gchatting with two or three friends on Shabbos—and blocking everyone else. By Shavuos, I was reeling from a major transition in my life, and decided to no longer pretend to be observant of halakha, traditional Jewish law. I had grown up totally secular and observing Shabbos and holidays is still far from second nature to me; as I scaled one emotional mountain, I slid down the other, and took a break.
Shavuos this year has been looming as a personal deadline of sorts. It is the holiday where the children of Israel stood at the foot of Mount Sinai (speaking of mountains) and received the Torah from God. They didn’t just passively receive the Torah, either—they committed to it, to all of the commandments, to Shabbos, to the holidays, the whole shebang. So it feels like a fitting time to recommit myself to halakha, both in terms of the significance of the day and the fact that a whole year has gone by since my life was turned upside down. I do like anniversaries; I like the cycle of the calendar, of marking special days—even, or especially—the difficult ones.