Monday, 24 February 2014
Planting a Seed - For Eternity
It's one of those strange things about life... With all the hustle and bustle of today's times, we're all focused on getting on with our own careers - you know - making whatever we're able to, so that we can take care of ourselves. The Talmud tells us the story of Choni HaMaagel - Choni the Circle-drawer who was not only famous for praying for rain when the town needed it - but was also famous for falling asleep for 70 years to awaken and find the world still carrying on as usual. The only thing that seemed to have changed was a tree that had sprouted up next to him. Some 70 years before he had "scoffed" when he noticed an old man planting a carob tree, knowing it would take some 70 years before any benefit could be had from it. When he asked the old man what in the world he was doing, because surely he wouldn't be alive at that time when real benefit could be had from it, the man answered that he was planting for the next generation - because after all, wasn't it the previous generation who planted for them to enjoy the fruits that they now eat from?!
Though we certainly must focus on ourselves, there's a far deeper message with Choni and even the cartoon above. In most instances, we'll find that much of life brings us what others have already left us. It's the greatness of the father planting a seed with his son and watering it daily that's going to count so many years later for his son. One day, there will be a large tree (with fruit too!) all thanks to the father. But the son will also have learnt a great lesson. He too must add something. Even a tree can have something more added - that will bring even further happiness for even the next generation. That son, may well add a swing for his child and attach it to the tree. I guess his child will enjoy both tree and swing, learn the lesson and find himself being able to add something even further.
It all begins with the intial seed though. It's about seeing to it, that wherever one is, that seed is planted so that the tree will grow somewhere - so that when the time comes, the next generation will have something even better. That's a great lesson a "Dad" can teach his "Son." It's a lesson for us all. We can't always do everything on our own - but with the right "inheritance" and guidance, we'll not only get to enjoy what a previous generation gave to us - but be able to give over something even greater!