The Powerful and The Steady

Apr 7th, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations, Spiritual Growth
Tens of trees in Fieldston were ripped from the ground in those recent winds. There are giant trees lying on the street with huge chunks of the street piled around them. All the people taking Pesach walks stopped to observe the damage to the neighborhood. “We are so vulnerable to nature,” was the typical comment.

While everyone else was looking at the destroyed trees, I chose to examine the flowers that grew in a pile of rocks, and a healthy root that had, over the years, snaked through the sidewalk and stretched its tentacles for twenty feet. I looked closer and realized that there were more life forms growing on the exposed sections of the roots.

While everyone else saw the power of nature in the felled giant trees, I saw its power in the flower that could not be stopped by a pile of stones, and by a root that could push up an entire chunk of sidewalk.

We were focused on two forms of power; the extraordinary power of almost hurricane winds, and the simple, steady power of the life of the trees and flowers around us.

Pip finished his business and it was time to move on to his next favorite spot, which is just in front of a stone house with magnificent trees that are in full bloom. The trees are gorgeous. They transform the house into a painting. Even I as enjoyed their beauty; I was saddened when I reflected on how short a life span the flowers have. In two weeks all the pink, purple and red will disappear and those trees will become big beautiful green trees. The magnolias will disappear. The cherry blossoms will fall. I want those people to plant a series of trees that will flower over the spring and summer months. They will need a larger front yard, and, it seems to me, a better gardener.

My wife was wondering why I focused on the temporary, and not the long-term, beauty, and yet, I had earlier chosen to focus on the long-term and not the extraordinary power of nature. “Both, the unusual and the long-term are important, powerful and magnificent. Don’t focus on only one or the other!”

It seems that the Sages of the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah took Debbie’s approach: “Be deliberate in judgment, and nurture many students to become independent.” The Chassid Ya’avetz explains that the Sages were reminding us that we constantly fluctuate between potential and action.

“Deliberate in judgment,” is a reminder of the need to be steady and consistent. “Nurture many students to be independent,” is a reminder to nurture the bursts of creative energy and potential.

We have to nurture the bursts of creativity and develop consistency in action. We need the power of the hurricane winds, and the steady strength of the growing roots to lift large segments of a sidewalk. We need the surge of the magnolias and cherry blossoms and we need the plainer consistency of the tree after the flowers have fallen.

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