Sunday the Hebrew month of Iyyar will start. It is full of modern holidays – Yom Hazikaron that commemorates Israel’s fallen soldiers, Yom Ha’atzmaut that celebrates Israel’s Independence, and Yom Yerushalayim that celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem. These days remember the sacrifice of our people, and that we’ve been given another chance to control our destiny. Strangely, these modern holidays coincide with the sad period of Sefirat HaOmer, when Talmudical students passed away “because they did not show respect to each other.” Because of this, during the Omer we work on improving our behavior and interpersonal relationships. Perhaps the two are linked – the gift of Israel was given to us during the Omer because that is when we are working hard to respect one another.