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  • Writer's pictureAliza Davidovit

Where's Your Fruit

There is a story about a man who lived in a small village and who had a great appreciation for trees. He loved their majesty, the shade they sometimes offered, and the sweet fruits they bore.

One summer day, the man, who was no longer very young, planted a carob tree near a clear stream and cared for it diligently. As the years passed, he continued to nurture it, even though he knew he might not live long enough to taste its fruits or enjoy its shade. When asked why he devoted so much time to a tree he would never benefit from, he replied, 'I plant this tree not for myself but for the generations that will follow. Just as those who came before me planted trees for my benefit, so too must I plant for those who will come after me.'

Now, let's think about a lesson from the Torah, where we learn about Moses and his ascent up Mount Nebo. Moses, despite all his sacrifices and dedication, was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Instead, he went up Mount Nebo, where he could only gaze upon it from afar. You might wonder, 'Is that fair?'

In this generation, the answer will be a definite no because we often think that life is all about us, consumed by self-centeredness and arrogance, leaving no room for others or for God. We don't realize that we play a part; we are not the entire part. But it seems that everything we do and everyone we speak to often has an agenda attached to it. We use everything we have to serve ourselves alone, believing the world revolves around us. And indeed, the world does revolve around us to save it for everyone else, to elevate it for everyone else. The Talmud teaches if you save a single life, it's as if you saved an entire world. The whole world depends on us, each and every one of us. We all want to be important, so there you go, we're important.

Yes, Moses was the greatest prophet who ever lived because it wasn't all about him. In fact, he was ready to have his name written out of the Torah.

I find nothing more troubling than this selfie generation, capturing moment after moment of the self in every type of situation. But my question is, what are we doing in between those pictures? What are we as human beings when we are not collecting phony likes for photoshopped pictures? Who among us is planting trees to ensure that the world we leave behind is better than the one we found?

With greed, hate, and moral compromises, we are destroying this world. The big legacy we care to leave our kids is money. That's very nice, but once it's spent, what's left of you? What's left of your kids? What's left of this ever-imploding world?

Selfishness is an antithesis to the five senses with which God created and blessed man, for it has no eyes for the suffering of its sister, has no ears for the cries of its brother, it smells not its own stench, it has no parched tongue to know another’s thirst, and it has no heart to feel or hand to touch another in comfort.

In the Torah, it's written that 'Man is Like the Tree of the Field.' Just as a tree sustains and provides for others, humans are responsible for nurturing and caring for their environment, community, and future generations. We can't poison the habitat and expect that any of us can thrive." Shabbat Shalom



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