The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Monday, August 02, 2004


With so much of the J blogosphere focused on Monkey-gate, I decided to write about something equally as important, namely, tomatoes.

I have been growing tomatoes for the past 18 years and this year is no exception. Indeed, I am currently harvesting cherry tomatoes at such a rapid pace that I don't have enough relatives and friends to give them to.

I view growing tomatoes as a deep and profound metaphor for many aspects of life, in particular raising children.

When growing tomatoes one must must work hard to plant the seeds or saplings. One must mulch around the tomatoes and constantly be on guard for weeds. One must pick the tomatoes when they are ripe; not too early; they will be green, and not too late; they will split in half or get rotten on the vine. And, no matter what you do, there is an important element of siyata d'shmaya, Hashem's provenance. You can work as hard as you like but if there isn't enough rain and enough sun, you will not realize the best results. (This despite the existence of sprinkler systems. There is no comparison between sprinkler systems and rain, believe me).

So too, with children. So much work goes into producing the children beginning with the mother's pregnancy and labor and continuing for so many years. One must constantly be on guard for the 'weeds' that can badly influence your children (whether in the form of questionable friends or TV, movies and videos that are unsuitable). You must determine when your children are 'ripe'; how much freedom and independence to give them, when to pull back. And, of course, you need big helpings of siyata d'shmaya no matter what you do.

Baruch Hashem I have had success over the years with my tomatoes. I always daven that I have as much success with my kids.


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