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Growing Plants and Planting Babies - Eitan Halevy [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

[ website | Approaching Emunah Shlemah ]
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Growing Plants and Planting Babies [May. 21st, 2009|04:43 pm]
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[Current Location |A cafe in Jerusalem]
[mood |creative]

My life has been largely concerned with growing things lately. Daniella (my wife) is quickly approaching the due date. In the last week the baby turned it's head down and dropped down into the pelvis, Daniella started experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions ('false' labor), and she suddenly awakened with a burst of energy saying, "Hello world. You need to be cleaned thoroughly!" Though, since she can hardly walk, let alone scrub the floor, it's fallen to me to apply the elbow grease. Not that I'm complaining, of course. In short, fatherhood is suddenly feeling much more imminent.

For the last couple of months I've been doing some gardening for the first time in my life, unless you count helping my mother pick weeds when I was a little boy. I've been planting seeds, watering them meticulously, watching and tracking their growth. Every time I plant a seed, I despair that it will never come up and that I must have done something wrong. Each day that I fail to see a sprout is proof of my failure. So far, as of this morning, every seed I've planted here has sprouted (as opposed to an abortive attempt to plant Kale at our old caravan in Bat Ayin a few months prior, where I plucked most of the sprouting Kale thinking it to be a weed). It's an amazing process to watch a plant, nourished by your hand, develop. This morning a hot pepper plant was just peeking a tiny bit of green above the dirt. I watered it and went back inside. About two hours later I found it had risen about an inch and spread two little leaves!

They say farmers need the most emunah (faith). You plant a seed, you wait, you water, you pray. How anyone could ever plant a seed and watch it grow, then not believe in G-d is beyond me. I guess the same can be said for parenthood. You are entering into the unknown, committing your life to a person who does not even exist yet. You water, you wait, you pray, and you hope everything comes out for the best.

It occurs to me that Western society is largely removed from the process of creating life. Most people don't have a lot of children around. Many in my generation have one or two children, and those relatively late in life, or none at all. At the same time, most live in large urban centers, where their gardening experience never surpasses the occasional potted plant on the window sill. It makes me wonder about some of the societal maladies we see around us, the ideological grandness coupled with ego-centrism and narcissism which I consider characteristic of many in my generation.

The other major content of my life these days is the tour-guiding course I'm taking. The course encompasses an impressive amount and breadth of material. I feel like yediat haaretz (knowledge of the land) is being poured down my open gullet. Every week I get to see another part of the country, learn it's secrets from the ground up (literally), walk it's paths, smell it's flowers, and envision my biblical ancestors roaming the same places. Anyone who would like an unofficial tour please let me know. Of course I can't 'charge' you yet, since I'm not a licensed tour-guide, but I wouldn't refuse payment either.

On another note, tonight starts Jerusalem Day, celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli control in 1967. As a Religious-Zionist this is not only a national holiday, but also an important religious holiday. It also happens to be one of my favorites. To think that after 2000 years of Jerusalem being in the hands of gentiles, the Jewish nation rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, won a war against all odds (several, actually), and reunified Jerusalem as the capital of a Jewish state!