Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Happy Tu Bishvat! In honor of the new year for trees that is celebrated today, I was privileged to hear a lecture from a farmer, Shlomi Hershkovitz, and to see nature and us in an entirely different light.
As part of the Nifgashot workshop series, Shlomi described how the chickpeas that he plants on moshav Yesodot are turned into Sabra hummus and how the corn he grows becomes Doritos.
He told us how much it bothers him when people complain about rain, while for him and his family a day of rain is a holiday. He raises his eyes to heaven all year long and waits for rain, while those who are not farmers complain about puddle water that splashes on their cars and their canceled plans. "Rain is a blessing. We are confused since it falls not only for farmers like me," Shlomi reminded us.
This year, a shmita or Sabbatical year, Shlmomi does not work in his fields at all. "This year is a workshop that helps me recall that I do not run the world. Just as Shabbat comes once a week, this is truly Shabbat for the land that comes once every seven years. I cannot imagine a profession in which you work all the time and do not rest once every seven years. .. how strange that must be."
We noticed that Shlomi was wearing holiday clothes instead of work clothes and we thought this was in honor of Tu Bishvat, but then he explained as follows: "This is how I dress throughout the shmita year. For me, this entire year is Shabbat and I dress accordingly. At the end of the year, I will put my work clothes back on when I return to the field."
In closing, Shlomi showed us a fascinating video (attached below) that documents up close the process of growth in nature. "Pay attention to how the seed sends out roots and then succeeds in bursting through the earth, which is much heavier than the seed. What powerful potential and life force hides in a tiny seed. Within us, too, powerful forces like this are concealed, but we can also grow and bloom and develop, especially on Tu Bishvat."