Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Adar II 5765 - April 6, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

The Palm Tree
By Gita Gordon

This palm tree has forced its way through the cement at the entrance to our apartment block. The paving stones were well laid and cement carefully placed between them, yet, this small seed found some soil and forced its way upward, through a barrier of stone and cement, reaching out for the light, growing season by season.

Not only did this small tree win its fight against biological and mechanical opponents, but also against the human hand. No one thought to consider that a plant was spoiling the pristine appearance and take sharp shears to it and remove it. Each time I go by, I look and wonder. More than that, I began to notice other plants with similar stubborn inclinations.

The sides of the cliff in Netanya are planted with a variety of wild flowers that cling to the soil and slow down erosion. The steps leading down to the beach are carefully maintained and swept free of sand each day. Yet in spite of that, some of these flowers grow between the steps, forcing their stems through the concrete, somehow surviving the mass of trampling feet up and down, all through the day.

On garden paths and concrete covered playgrounds, my eye began to focus on these lonely hardy, stubborn plants, of all varieties.

I began to think about people who, fate decrees, should likewise be placed on stony ground, in an environment that is more likely to create a damaged individual than someone who can contribute in a positive way to their fellow man, and yet are able to persevere and overcome all obstacles.

There are Jewish children who are born into a home where most of the practice of things Jewish has been replaced by the values and customs of the surrounding society. The growing Baal Teshuva movement has many examples of young people who have been given no knowledge of their birthright, and yet, by dint of courage and perseverance, find someone who will teach them what they have never learned. They turn their back on the non-values they have been taught since childhood and embrace new ones, Jewish values. In doing this, they not only find a new life for themselves, but they renew a link, stretching all the way back to Sinai, that may well have been lost in their generation.

Like the plants that thrust their way through barren ground and hard cement, their path is not an easy one. Yet somehow they succeed.

There are others who grow up in a Jewish home, but in difficult circumstances. Yet instead of becoming disillusioned or embittered, they keep to the lessons they learn at school and at home and become fine strong people, with compassion for others who are suffering as they once did. They too, like the palm tree and the flowers on the steps to the beach, have had to persevere through many difficulties and not give up.

Wherever we look, in nature or in the stories of people around us, we can find those who overcame obstacles to achieve much more than their barren landscape promised.


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