|Our fig tree and 'yard'|
Having a fruit tree in ones yard is a mixed blessing. There is the romantic notion of trotting into the garden, bowl in hand, to pick the morning fare. (we are not especially fond of figs) The reality is, there is dropped fruit everywhere including on the clean laundry. Dropped fruit means ants and bees and bugs and a funny smell if not cleaned up right away.This one has a low branch that seems to always swipe me in the head as I walk by. (see photo)
We did not fully understand the 'gift' that has been given us. In looking in the Torah, we know that the fig is one of the 7 species of Israel (see Day 19) There is also a wonderful promise that upon returning to the Land we will 'live in houses we did not build and eat from trees we did not plant'. That each of us will invite our neighbor to sit with us under our fig tree~ a picture of dwelling in peace. (Zechariah 3:10) Right in front of us, we have had the blessing of returning to the Land in the 'person' of this fig tree. But we also learned another lesson from our Arab gardener, Ya'acov and our Moroccan Jewish landlord, Pini.
|Ya'acov and friend|
Ya'acov installed our tile in the yard. The branch that hangs too low kept clipping him and he saw what a nuisance it can be. He kept wanting to cut it off. Actually, even before he worked for me, he saw it and has been bugging us for months to cut it off. One day he came and said that the landlord wanted it cut. We asked him several times if he was sure. We couldn't imagine Pini doing that as it is about half of the tree. Our language isn't that bad but I thought I better be certain. Sure enough, when we asked Pini about it, 'NO!' he said. ' It is a mitzvah to grow this tree. It is one of the Shivat HaMinim the 7 species!' And he went on to tell us of the others of the 7 species he is growing in his garden.
As he walked away, we were struck by the different perspectives:
Ours~ the fig tree is a bit of a nuisance.
Ya'acov~ the fig tree represented a little income if he could cut it.
Pini~ his fig tree is a mitzvah.. an act of obedience to Torah and a Holy work; a blessing and a fulfillment of promises made by G-d.
As we look at the fig tree now, we see with completely different eyes. It's time to go get some nice benches to sit under our fig tree. Want to come sit with us?
Every man will sit under...his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the L-RD Almighty has spoken. Micah 4:4