One thing about aging. If you work on yourself, you become more refined like fine wine. Ok, the cogs and wheels might get rusty and make some noise, but the living and learning never stops, and for this I am grateful. And as each year passes, I find myself trusting more and more in G-d. It is a liberating feeling.
We find ourselves now in the shmita year. This is the year where we, in Israel, make the land sit fallow, not working the earth, and giving it, its 7 year rest.
Vegetables that comply with the shmita laws are hard to find in the market place this year. My Shabbat and holiday dishes call for fresh cauliflower, fresh dill, pumpkin, Zucchini, etc. etc.
This last Shabbat, after all the vegetables from before Rosh Hashana ran out, I didn't have all the ingredients I wanted, to make the dishes my family and guests love. Instead of getting upset, throwing a dish, stomping on my kitchen floor and crying, I just said out loud, "Well, baruch Hashem (Blessed be The Name [G-d]) we have what we need. The carrots and frozen cauliflower will do. It may not be as I wanted it to be, but it is enough to prepare the dish for Shabbat."
Ok, so I won't have fresh parsley or red onions. I'll make due with dried parsley and white onions.
And now I want to get to the point of this blog piece....
We, who were brought up with Western values, watching the rich and the famous on TV, and living in a consumer based society, were always taught to want 'more'. A bigger house, a newer car, a newer, younger and prettier wife? ... and all that. The problem is, that there is no end to 'wants' and desires. "I want this, I want that", it never ends. There is always something else we will want. When we consider the flip side of the coin however, - what we NEED, ...well, there is a limit to THAT. A cap can be put on what the 'needs' of a human being are. G-d knows what we NEED - as a nation and as individuals. And thank G-d, He provides us in this world with just that. We humans may not divide the wealth of the earth up so well, so that all can eat and be housed, but the supplies are in stock on this planet, and G-d provides for us.
So, when is enough, enough? Should we always strive for more, to fulfill more of our desires? Should we choose to stay on this never ending treadmill, running and running for more and more? Or should we ask G-d to give us 'enough' to fulfill His will? Should we not recognize and be grateful, for what we have been blessed with, and after receiving 'enough', look to help others with the overflow of bounty?
"And God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: 'Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them, when you enter the land which I am giving to you, the land shall be at rest - a Shabbat unto the Lord. For six years you shall plant your field and for six years your shall prune your vineyard and you shall harvest its produce. But the seventh year shall be a Shabbat of rest for the land - a Shabbat for the Lord ...' (25:1-4)"
The Shmitta year teaches us just this, that we are to STOP all agriculture and take off a full year from tilling the ground and working the Land. What faith this takes! Unheard of, for a nation to stop agriculture for a full year! We must be crazy. And yet, this is exactly what G-d expects of us. And by us complying, shows utter faith in G-d.
We know that He will provide us with ENOUGH food for this next year, and more.
And we learn the important Torah lesson, that we should hope for 'enough', and throw out the Western treadmills which scream "more, more, more, more".