Sunday, October 10, 2021

Hidden Treasures

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

I've had a delicious crop of raspberries this fall. 

It's obvious, of course, that growing your own fruit means you need to take the time to harvest it. So, every morning since late August, I've been picking raspberries. I eat them with my breakfast granola. What a tasty treat I enjoy!

This year as I've been picking raspberries, I've noticed something I never paid attention to before, though surely it was also true in the past. I've noticed that I need to look carefully. When I first approach the raspberry patch, plump red berries hanging over the wire beckon me, and I eagerly pull the first bright beacons of scarlet I see off the canes.

Yum! I think to myself as I pop them into my container. 

And I go on to the next berries, also readily visible.

I'm about to move on down the row when I tilt my head a bit and another flash of crimson catches my eye.

Then I move my head again, and again, looking from above, from below, and from the side. Each time I change my position, I find more ripe berries to take home for breakfast.

What a delight!

As the days of picking go by, I begin to acknowledge that a message is coming to me from the raspberries: It isn't enough to look just once, from one angle. In order to achieve the full potential of joy and yumminess from my raspberry patch, I need to look from every direction. I need to seek. I need to regularly change my perspective.

Over time, I realize there are actually two messages in the raspberries. 

One message is the reminder that different perspectives view the same thing in different ways. People looking at the world differently than I do see something different, and it is just as real and just as "delicious and pick-able". Sometimes this reality is very hard to live with.

The other message is that there is always more than initially meets the eye. That it's important to expend energy, to "turn it and turn it, for all is in it, and through it you shall see" (Pirkei Avot 5:22). Sometimes this one is hard and sometimes it is easy.

There is wisdom in the raspberries. Letting the spiritual fruits of my picking enter my heart takes time and effort, just as does picking fresh fruit for my morning meal. 

May I, and you,  always find time for both.

Enjoy your fruits!

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long and has a growing children’s outdoor learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. She is the founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, a board certified chaplain, and a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in  Yonkers, NY, in 2005, and lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the.singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.

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