- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On June 2, 2017
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
L’dor vador are the words we speak when we pass the Torah scroll through the loving arms of the generations to have it rest with our thirteen year old students as they take their place in the community and chant from the Torah as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
L’dor vador speaks of Judaism’s emphasis that we do not live for ourselves alone but have an eye on the future.
L’dor vador reminds us that we are not only descendants but we are ancestors as well.
How might this be possible? The Talmud provides an answer in the form of a story.
One day, a man named Honi was walking along the road when he saw a certain person planting a carob tree. Honi challenged him, “How many years will it take for this tree to bear fruit?” The man responded, “It will not produce fruit for seventy years.” Honi then said, “Do you plan to live for seventy more years in order to benefit from this tree?” The man shook his head. “When I came into this world, I found it full of carob trees. Just as my ancestors planted for me, I, too, am planning for my descendants.”(Ta’anit 23a)
Those before us created, planted, and produced not just for themselves. They wanted to make sure we could have food, a better life, a path to success, and a community to grow up in and with. We, as descendants, receive and use, partake and relish in what has been handed down. Yet, if we only see ourselves as descendants, we become takers. By viewing ourselves as ancestors as well, we come to recognize there is a world beyond the one we live in right now who will need us to have acted with them in mind even though we will never meet them.
Just as our ancestors planted for us, we, too, can plant for our descendants.
How we act will determine their response: will they bless us for our concern for their welfare or curse us for haughty arrogance of negligence regarding the future? I pray there will be blessing.
Join us tonight for Qabbalat Shabbat at 6 p.m. and Torah study tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Live stream HERE.
Connect with me HERE with comments and reflections.