“Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow!’”Midrash*
The recurring theme of the last couple of weeks has been “grow, grow!” It has been the message, the reminder that God has been trying to transmit to me. Like the angel bending over the blade of grass, God has been bending over me, whispering, “Grow, grow!”
This past Sunday was Tu B’Shvat, the mystical new year for the trees. Tu B’Shvat is the time marked to start the new agricultural cycle. There is special significance to this time for us as humans, too; we must recall that “man is like the tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19). Tu B’Shvat is not only a new year for the trees, but a time of renewal for us.
We must be like trees. We must plunge our roots deeply into the ground and become firmly rooted in our faith and trust in Hashem. We must simultaneously soar upwards, grow with the certainty that we are reaching heavenwards, rise to kiss the sky with hope. We must grow in many different directions, stretch our branches to all sides, ascend from level to level and avoid stagnation.
“Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord alone. He shall be like a tree planted by waters, sending forth its roots by a stream: it does not sense the coming of the heat, its leaves are ever fresh; it has no care in a year of drought, it does not cease to yield fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
Let us send our roots to a stream of living water, for whoever goes to the living waters will never thirst. Whoever approaches the Lord, the Fount of living waters (17:13), will have his eternal yearning sated and his hunger filled.
Whoever turns to God in all things will never be put to shame. Those who hope in His name will not fail; “Israel, hope to the Lord, for kindness is with the Lord and much redemption is with Him” (Psalm 130:7). Although it was a tree of knowledge from which we ate, we will soon eat of the tree of life and gain the ability to sink deeply into our faith while touching God’s face.
In an arid land, in the midst of trial and tribulation, we must never stop striving to grow. And in a land of plenty, a place of comfort and satisfaction, we may find it easy to slip into complacency. In some ways, it is easier to push ourselves to grow when we encounter difficulties. When we get too comfortable, growth becomes an afterthought. It is these moments when we must continue planting our roots deeper, establishing our faith so that it has a strong basis, so that we need not fear the coming storm which tries to uproot us, or drought which may cause us to thirst.
And always, let us hear the voice which whispers to us, “Grow, grow!”
*From my research, this quote has been changed from the actual text. The actual text reads: “Every single blade of grass has a corresponding ‘mazal’ in the sky which hits it and tells it to grow” (Midrash Rabba, Bereshit 10:6). Although I appreciate the exact quote for its realness, (don’t we all feel hit from time to time?), I felt that for the purposes of this article, the doctored quote was preferable.