Rabbi Julie's February 2021 Letter to Congregation

posted Feb 1, 2021, 7:38 AM by Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir   [ updated Feb 1, 2021, 7:40 AM ]
February 2021

Dear Chevre,
Days ago our calendars marked the Jewish holiday of Tu B'shvat, often known as the Birthday of the Trees. In this era, we have a new understanding of trees as the lungs of the world. If we imagine Self as World, these are our very own lungs! Can you imagine a bigger sense of Self that encompasses all of nature? We have been trained to think of ourselves as isolated individuals, but really, we are truly interdependent with a whole web of life. Judaism expresses this idea in our central Shema prayer "God is one."
I am also thinking of the wonderful story of Honi, an old man in ancient Israel who was planting a tree one day when a young fellow approached him. "Why are you planting that tree when you won't live to see it grown?"
"Ah," said Honi, "I am planting this tree not for myself but for future generations."
At the stages of life that many of us have reached, aren't we now planting for future generations? We are sustaining life-giving spiritual traditions, caring practices, teachings and congregation structures, not just for ourselves but also for generations to come. In my own life I feel more and more drawn to teaching, mentoring, training, planting seeds in others who will carry on the work. So glad to be doing this holy planting together.

Happy Tu B'shvat,

Rabbi Julie