Friday, January 21, 2011

Tu B'Shevat - Just Love That Land 2

We packed up our lasagna and headed east today - to Eastern Gush Etzion. In a small town overlooking the Judean Desert, we planted three trees - two black cherries and one almond. The land was soft and waiting to be planted. I regretted with the first whack at the earth, that I hadn't bought another two trees. The area we picked beside my children's home was a perfect spot for a future garden. And the ground seemed to be pleading for more trees whose roots would dig deep into the soil.
My sons dug holes, planted the saplings and covered them over with compost, plus lots of water. My grandchildren covered the trees' bases with soil that they held in their hands. They looked amazed at the earth between their fingers. It wasn't "dirt". It was a piece of the Land of Israel. The little tykes surrounded their trees with stones, so anyone who'd come by would take care not to trample on the little trees.
Before he began to dig, my son the rabbi told my grandchildren, "We're planting trees today for Tu B'Shevat. We love the Land. We're connected to the Land. You'll see them in a few years. These trees will be very big and give many fruits."
I fast forwarded in my imagination to a time a few years hence, IY"H, (just as my son had said) when we'd all sit beneath these trees, enjoying a picnic and noshing on the plump and delicious black cherries above us.
As the trees drank their first sips of water in the new garden, everyone smiled, almost in unison. We all felt more connected than ever to our Land and our past on this Land. My husband said, "May these trees and these towns grow and flourish." Amen.

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