Friday, August 14, 2020

Let’s gather virtually on Monday August 17th at 8:00pm for our first optional online meetup. We’ll have some focused conversation around growing herbs and Havdalah gardens, and then an open forum for questions, conversation and sharing. If there’s interest, we can do some sharing of pictures as well. The link to join is here.

As I’ve shared with many of you, the JVGB is a pilot initiative this year, and we’re very open to hearing what is helpful to folks, where there is need and interest as we move forward. Let me know!

Meanwhile, I want to take a moment and reflect on Shabbat, the inspiration behind these …. Inspirations. You are likely familiar with the story as told in Genesis, during six days G!d created the world, and on the seventh day, they rested. G!d then blessed the seventh day and declared it holy.

In Exodus 20:8 we are told to, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep in holy,” and then in Deuteronomy 5:12 to, “Guard the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as G!d commanded.” There are many interesting commentaries on the different intentions between these two verbs. “To remember” is considered the origin of what one should do on the Shabbat, while “to guard” considered the origin of what one should not do. What are the different connotations there for you? Does this influence your celebration or recognition of the day?

What most resonates with me about Shabbat is that Creation wasn’t complete until there was rest. Rest is therefore an essential element in the act of Creation. One does not rest in order to work, but does so for its own sake.   

So too in our gardens and in our soil we must provide for a period of rest. While it might be hard to consider in the midst of the summer abundance, growing crops is working our soil and depleting nutrients. Living in New England provides winter as the season for resting from farming, but in southern regions it’s the summer that is too hot to grow in. I’ve been reading about how this heat is delaying the ripening of tomatoes for some, it’s simply too hot for them.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, in his book The Sabbath, wrote:

           “Labor is a craft, but perfect rest is an art. It is the result of an accord of body, mind, and imagination. To attain a degree of excellence in art, one must accept its discipline, one must adjure slothfulness. The seventh day is a palace in time which we build. It is made of soul, of joy and reticence.”

Shabbat, and rest, is holy. I encourage you to mark it in some way that speaks to you. It is a special day that ends with a multi-sensory ceremony, Havdalah. This provides us opportunity to integrate fragrances from our garden into our ritual. See you Monday night!

Shabbat Shalom,

Leora Mallach
Co-Founder and Director
Beantown Jewish Gardens

P.S. Check out this video the folks at Newton Community Farm put together with a short tour of their farm and discussion of planting in August.

כ״ד באב ה׳תש״פ (August 14, 2020)