Pay it forward / by Susie Lubell

Fruitful

In these last few weeks I have been especially enamored by the view over here - miles of terraced olive groves with their short stone retaining walls and the picturesque hillside villages they surround. But views here are often colored by the conflict. I try not to think about it too much.

Next week is Tu B'Shvat, a minor Jewish holiday to celebrate the trees and we've been gearing up by eating a lot of dried fruit and reading the Lorax. This new painting, called Fruitful, was inspired by a little passage from the Talmud (that has made its way into the Jewish summer camp storytelling canon. I don't actually read the Talmud regularly. Or ever, come to think of it). Has me thinking about the kind of legacy I want to leave for my own kids. Heavy stuff.

Once, while the sage, Honi, was walking along a road, he saw an old man planting a carob tree. Honi asked him: “How many years will it take for this tree to give forth its fruit?” The man answered that it would require 70 years. Honi asked: “Are you so healthy a man that you expect to live that length of time and eat its fruit?” The man answered: “I found a fruitful world because my ancestors planted it for me. So, too, will I plant for my children.” (Babylonian Talmud, Ta’anit 23a)

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