Sunday, July 30, 2006

(Link>) Jameel spends a weekend on stand-by as a Magen David Adom ambulance driver in northern Israel

Fortunately, he comes home in one piece. He's shaken. The rest of us should be stirred . . . to action.

"Looking northwards at the mountains overlooking the station, most of the trees and greenery had been burned black by brush fires resulting from countless Katyusha strikes.

[See photo in post.]

The estimates I've heard are that it will take JNF another 40 years to return the Galil to the green forest situation that Israel enjoyed only a few weeks ago."

Okay, you heard the man: Tree here.

I'm copying this manually from a hard-copy of a Tu BiSh'vat Seder edited heaven only remembers how many years ago by Rabbi Gary Karlin and Cantor Judith Naimark. The footnote says "BT [Babylonian Talmud/Talmud Bavli, I presume] Ta'anit 23a. (I'm not sure whether this is a translation or a paraphrased version. This particular Seder was written for a group mixed in both age and language--the reason why I don't have a copy on my computer is that some of the text was hand-written in Russian. Hmm, now that there's such a thing as a scanner, and we happen to own one . . .) It's a Jewish version of the much-later American legend of Rip Van Winkle:

"Many years ago in Israel, there lived a righteous man whose name was Choni. One day, Choni saw a man planting a carob tree. Choni asked him, 'How many years will it take for this tree to bear fruit?' The man answered, 'Seventy years.' 'Foolish man,' said Choni, 'do you think that you will be alive to eat the fruit of this tree?' The man replied, 'I found carob trees in the world when I was born. As those before me planted for me, so I plant trees for my children.'

Choni sat down to eat and soon fell into a deep sleep. Leaves fell, covering Choni entirely, and he slept for seventy years. When he awoke, he was surprised to see a man picking fruit from that same carob tree. 'Are you the man who planted the tree?' Choni asked. 'No,' replied the man. 'My grandfather planted it for me.'"

I won't live to see the reforestation of the Galil. But it's my responsibility to help make it happen. Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibatel mimena, You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdraw from it." (Pirkei Avot/Verses [Ethics] of the Fathers, chapter 2, number 21.

As I was saying, tree here.


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