Climbing Trees

Shalom Aleichem!

A couple days ago, I was watching our oldest son Mendel climb a tree. It brought me back to my own childhood, when I had a penchant for tree climbing. A short jaunt from my childhood home in Calgary, Canada, was a little forest. Well, really it was just a few rows of evergreen trees between a field and a condominium development where some friends lived, but it sure seemed like a forest.

One day, I was somewhere up a tree, and decided that it would be a very good idea to jump out. So I jumped. I was probably only a few feet up, but my memory indicates that it was closer to 20 feet 🙂

evergreen drawing

On the way down, a branch made a long cut immediately beneath my right eye. I went to my friend’s birthday party the next day at the CJC (Calgary Jewish Center), and was told I looked like a football player, because I had a black mark beneath my eye, much like football players put “eye black” beneath their eyes to reduce glare.

Thank G-d for close calls 😉

There seems to be some kind of innate desire within to climb higher. It’s just that it’s also good to have an escape plan; jumping is not always a good idea.
Sometimes, a person may get so high up a tree, that all he can think when he looks down is, How will I get down?!

* * *

Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, is this Monday night and Tuesday (July 15-16, 2013). It is the saddest day on the calendar, as it marks the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and the subsequent exile of our people. We fast beginning with sunset on Monday, and concluding at night time on Tuesday (click here for more info).

We have been in exile for over 1900 years, and sometimes it seems like we’re way up in a tree, with no way to get down.

The Sages teach that the exile was brought about by causeless hatred. The way to reverse this predicament and get out of it is therefore to generate causeless love: Love your neighbor as yourself. Love another person simply because he is a person. Not because you like him or her, or because they help you, or even for any redeeming qualities, but simply because they are created in the Image of the Almighty.

With this pure recipe, we will certainly usher in the Messianic era. At that time, the world will be free of famine, poverty, jealousy and war, and the earth will be filled with awareness of the Divine as the sea covers the ocean bed.

Shabbat Shalom,

P.S. Thank you to all who participated in the raffle, we sold a total of 425 tickets, our most ever! We couldn’t have done it without you! All proceeds directly benefit the Chabad House at Queens College. Winners will be drawn on July 17, and will be announced via Facebook,Twitter and this weekly email.