Planting and Harvesting

Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.

Here it is June, and now the “dry heat” begins. Everything we experience from now until the beginning of a new season in the fall is not about the heat but about the continuity of life’s journey. It seems that we count time by the holidays, which includes the change of seasons. For me, it seems that the calendar flies by from one season to the next. Additionally, I see the plants start to bloom, the trees regain their blossoms, and the earth seems to come alive after sleeping all winter.

Our lives also concentrate on planting and harvesting. When we start out, we plant the seeds of our future by our actions and deeds. The growth that occurs is determined by the fertilizer we use and the water needed to assist in the development of that which has been planted.

Just what is the fertilizer? It consists of traditions and customs. It contains environment and habits that are learned from these exposures. As we get older, we discard some and develop others. That is part of growth. As with that which is planted, it, too, accepts the environment that surrounds it, discarding some foliage and growing replacements. Life imitates nature as nature imitates human life. They are inseparable.

What is the water that is sustaining? For vegetation, it is rain. For us, it is the water of knowledge and the benefits of the exchange of ideas. It is allowing our minds to expand to absorb all that is around us, such as the plants do as they drink up the flow from springs and rivers.

Perhaps this is a circuitous way of explaining my thoughts for this time of the year—the time for relaxation—the time for slowing down—the time for planning, and the time for thoughts.

We are a collection of philanthropic and social individuals committed to the continuity of heritage and faith. This happens because we all see the need, answer the call, and begin a process that always changes with time, as do we. We all have living emotions, living needs, and living wants and desires. And we all share the pains that come with time—the loss of a loved one—the joy of celebrations. Through it all, we see each other as we are, not as we think we should be.

We pitch in when needed and step back when it seems appropriate. We laugh, we cry, we interfere sometimes, we listen to things that really are insignificant. When we come together as children of God, we understand that we are one with each other because we cannot do without each other, even those we may not be so fond of.

All of us make sacrifices in different ways. For example, when our community needs stability, we look for those with experience to teach us how to learn from the past to ensure the future. When our houses of worship have financial needs because of demographics that either take people away or find people distancing themselves because of ailments, we should be willing to come forward and help. Synagogues and churches go through cycles as we do—we nurture (plant seeds), we feed (bring life to our experiences), we gather (harvest) our resources to give us the nourishment needed for our future.

We are planting seeds, we are watering that which we are planting, and we will harvest a crop that will be fulfilling to ourselves and, most of all, to God.

Be safe this summer. Come back to a stronger and more secure community. My prayer is that the upcoming fall season will find all of us more in tune with each other so that our mission to bring a fruitful living experience will be a reality.