Welcome to Shabbat Inspirations!

Welcome to our first Shabbat Inspirations!

This has been a very exciting two weeks as we’ve begun making mentee/mentor matches in the JVGB! In addition, the combination of rain and July heat has provided opportunity for tremendous growth in the garden – vegetables and weeds included. It’s a busy time of year and one can easily get overwhelmed at the prospect of weeding in 93 degree days.

In the first b’rachah (blessing) before the Shema, near the formal beginning of the daily morning (Shacharit) service, we read the phrase: 

 Psalms 104:24
How numerous are the things You have made, O LORD; You have made them all with wisdom; the earth is full of Your creations.

תהילים ק״ד:כ״ד
מָֽה־רַבּ֬וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֨יךָ ׀ יְֽהוָ֗ה כֻּ֭לָּם בְּחָכְמָ֣ה עָשִׂ֑יתָ מָלְאָ֥ה הָ֝אָ֗רֶץ קִנְיָנֶֽךָ׃

The entire first blessing before the Shema is a celebration of the natural world with an emphasis on God’s creation of light which we (appropriately) recognize and proclaim every morning. There are so many miracles all around us if we just take a moment to recognize and appreciate them.

The Shema itself, is also instructive in its choice of verb:

 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
שְׁמַע יִשרָאֵל ה’ אֱלהֵינוּ ה’ אֶחָד 

I am often asked, “What makes gardening Jewish?” and while I have a few answers ready to go, my favorite is simply to say, “We get to talk about and celebrate God, and the miracles of germination and plant growth. God is my co-gardener every time it rains.”

I believe that as Jewish gardeners, we recognize the entire ecosystem that grows our gardens. Take a moment this Shabbat, or whenever you have a chance, and appreciate what you have accomplished in your garden. Let the weeds go for a moment. Listen to the sounds of the garden. Breathe it in.

Draw a Shema Sound Map
Bring a blank paper and a something to draw with out to your garden. Listen for a few moments to the sounds of the garden. Can you draw them? What does your map of sounds look like?
Dance and sing along to this catchy version of Mah Rabu by Rabbi Josh Warshawsky.
I know some of the JVGB matches have chatted, and some have even met, and some have not yet been introduced. We are still building this community and figuring out the best way to share our collective resources.You should all have been invited to our google-group, and we look forward to continuing the conversation and seeing pictures.

Stay tuned for more. Thank you for being a part of our community!
Shabbat Shalom,

Leora Mallach
Co-Founder and Director
Beantown Jewish Gardens

ג׳ באב ה׳תש״פ (July 24, 2020)