Giant Sequoia Tree

Shalom Aleichem!

My friend Rabbi Yehudah Blesofsky lost his wife a few months ago; early Thursday morning, his daughter gave birth to a baby girl. The baby was named after his wife, Nechama Michla Breindel. Mazel tov!

Mazel tov to Gani & Aaron Lazer Goodman on the birth of their firstborn daughter, Shaina Raizel!

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Since we were pretty busy with the PediSukkah (a couple more pictures below) and other Sukkot activities, we didn’t have time for the traditional family outings during the holiday. So this past Sunday, my family and I did one of my kids’ favorite things: we took the subway into Manhattan. The destination was the Museum of Natural History. The kids really enjoyed it.

Of all the fascinating things we saw, there was one thing in particular that stood out to me: There was a “slice” of a giant sequoia tree; it must have been close to 30 feet in diameter. I was so taken by its massive beauty, that I almost didn’t look down at the signage.

When I did, I noticed a small container, somewhat akin to a petri dish. Contained within it was the tiny seed of a giant sequoia tree. The sign read:

A sequoia seed weighs less than 1/3000th of an ounce. The tree that develops from it may eventually weigh 65 billion times as much.

I was reminded of a letter the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote to Rabbi Shlomo Matusof in 1953. A Russian native who endured imprisonment at the hands of the Soviet authorities, Rabbi Matusof was sent by the Rebbe in 1951 to Morocco, to assist the local Jewish community.

In this letter, the Rebbe writes:

“…don’t be discouraged, G-d forbid, for it is impossible to determine what is going on deep inside the heart of a fellow Jew or Jewess. Even though it may sometimes appear as if great effort produces only small quantities of fruit, it is impossible to know what will happen in the near future — and certainly what will happen in the distant future.

“….Specifically in our day and age, we have seen amazing things happen. By planting one small seed, tremendous and wondrous things have grown. If you merely look with the correct perspective, you will certainly see such results among your congregants. I await good news, and offer a blessing of success in your communal and personal matters.”

The lesson to me is that it is incumbent upon us to plant the seeds for growth and positive change. An environment conducive to growth is also needed. Plant the seeds, and we are certain to see tremendous results!

Shabbat Shalom,