When I read the articles from my fellow Times of Israel bloggers, I develop a deep appreciation for the inner rage that develops when necessary geo-political compromises need be made at the expense of justice. In the past few days people have taken to the streets in protest with good reason. Just the same , this energy could be far better channeled by driving our intention to occupy “Peace”
As an aging baby boomer, I lived through the Flower Child Movement of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, in which, we became very skeptical of the ethics of our mothers and fathers. We were told not to trust anyone over 30. There were many who dropped out, and moved into communes. I often wonder how many Jewish Americans decided to transplant their roots back to Israel during these times to work and live on the kibbutz.
That was then and this is now. The peace symbols of the sunflower, the rose, and even the dove, just don’t seem to apply any more. The time has come to move beyond symbols and participate in nurturing nature with the intention of garden our own spirits and those of our children. We can no longer expect the dove of peace to grant us peace just because we pray for it. We need to adopt good spiritual gardening practices of first nurturing are gardening berry bushes in our garden and in our inner vegetation, that will naturally attract the birds to descend upon us. These are birds that first lure us into the intention of spirituality, and then to make us painfully aware of the spiritual work ahead of us.
In the process of researching the cultural, educational, and ecological roots of gardening and contrasting these against my own Jewish spiritual roots, I made some interesting observations. Pirqei Avot, which literally translates as the Chapters of our Fathers, is commonly referred as Ethics of our Fathers. On the surface, there appear to be all kinds of contradictions. Spiritually speaking a “Chapter” refers to a Patriarchs who had attained dimensions of spirituality, that most of us are not conditioned to yet feel. There was never and is still nothing wrong with our spiritual roots. They are just as strong and nurturing as well. We just need a bit of help in unclogging them from our inner weeds, so that we can draw from them better.
I believe that the answer lies in reconnecting our Jewish spiritual roots with our kindergarten or kindergardening root. The 19th century German pedagogues were on right track with their kindergarten philosophy of conditioning the child’s spirit as well as the mind and body. Germany also is at the cutting edge of park design, allotment gardens or apartment dwellers as well Waldorf Schools. This was the paradox that I felt while visiting Dachau for the first time. Surrounding the horrifying Concentration Camp, where all of this torture and murder took place, were tall majestic trees and a reflection park. What the “Weed Out Hate” initiative attempts to do, is to re-connect our inner Judaic spiritual roots that can help us all, with the German cultural roots that provide universal access to gardening. Most people forget that Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy was based at least in part on Kabbalah.
Just the same, government and religious institutions cannot replace our own parental and educational responsibilities. Teaching children to relate weeding the garden with weeding out hate is such a simple thing. Even more enticing, when sunflower seeds are given back as rewards for planting. This is where things have to start, at the grassroots level in the literal, figurative, and spiritual sense.
The simple act of emailing President Obama, lobbying for a globally televised “Weed Out Hate” event at www.whitehouse.gov/com, is another very easy thing to do. It is the very essence of civic engagement.
The process of creating a network of Kabbalah Parks throughout Israel is also very doable, broadcasting Yehuda Ashlag’s Melodies of the Upper Worlds that lure you through labyrinths, while the painful cries of the mockingbirds mock you forward. These are hidden melodies that the Patriarchs must have felt in their souls and embedded within the very Otiot of the torah to be revealed at this point in time at this very place. Along the way, ample opportunities to weed out hate and even more field of dreams for planting sunflower seeds of peace.
Kabbalah Parks can never take the pain away from families losing their loved ones due to terrorism, but perhaps because of this pain people would visits these spiritual bio-topes for grasping the greater meaning of life.
What differentiates the Weed Out Hate Initiative from the other peace initiatives is the way it incorporates the recognition of evil into the equation. We are all born klipat noga, half bad, half good. There are plenty of events that germinate our inner weeds, very few that help connect us with our genuine spiritual roots. We should become aware of the kind of spiritual justice that is totally within our control. It takes just the slightest bit of uncorrected inner rage to make all of our hopes, dreams, and aspirations for peace, precipitate and fall back to earth like Jerusalem snow.
The disputes over land and settlements are geo-political driven. Hard choices sometimes need to be made. Perhaps incorporating Kabbalah Parks could be part of the Quid Pro Quo compromises in the future. If not for us, definitely for helping to garden the spirits of our children.