How to Plant an Award Winning Orchard
One of our happiest moments in Kelowna is hearing about another Jewish family in town.
One day I got a call from Nigel in Toronto.
“My brother is not doing well and he'd like to see a Rabbi,” he told me.
It’s always so enjoyable going into that first meeting.
It invariably brings with it a fresh start, with new energy and excitement as to what this relationship will bring.
I first went to meet Victor in his home together with our son Mendel on Friday, January 6th 2017.
He was very receptive and enjoyed our time together immensely. He was most appreciative for the Mitzvah of Teffilin that we introduced into his life for the very first time.
We celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in his living room. (Mendel was the photographer)
While we were dancing, tears were literally rolling down his lit up face. (I've heard these stories before, but now we've seen it with our own eyes). He was euphoric when he realized that he was now reunited with his Jewish brothers and sisters, and overjoyed to be able to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah with song, dance and L'Chaim, despite having missed the opportunity over 45 years ago.
With his dad not being Jewish, he just wasn't ever afforded the opportunity to properly nurture his soil as a Jew.
When we came home, Mendel asked me: "why was he crying"?
We had a wonderful little conversation as we prepared for Shabbat that day.
It was a very special visit during which time we also met Jennifer, who was so nice, as well as some of the boys.
One thing he repeated often was that after meeting us, he wished that his involvement with his Jewish family would've been more prominent in his life.
To our second meeting I invited one of my dearest Kelowna friend’s, Dr. Steven Finkleman, with whom I have the great privilege of working together on many Kelowna Jewish Community affairs, including also the Chevre Kaddisha*.
We discussed plans, should the need arise.
G-d blessed Victor with more time. We enjoyed Shabbat meals together at our home, community events, and many more home and later hospice visits.
Many are the stories of the impact we had on each other.
Today's story is what happened on January 17th 2018, about three months after his funeral.
Mr. James Seidel of James Seidel & Associates Inc. in Kelowna, ran over to me in the Capri Shopping centre.
"I just had to tell you again how intelligent your words were at Victor Wain's funeral in September. It was just so non-denominational. I hear many religious leaders speak, and it's always very denominational. My wife and I who are not Jewish ourselves, told so many people about it. Your message was just so intelligent. I haven't heard such intelligent words during a sermon before. Thank you again for your great work in this city!"
The gist of the idea was this.
Some land is perfect for growing apples, and some are better for cucumbers.
Some would be totally wasted if you grew tomatoes on it, while award winning if it was made into a vineyard.
Most things in life can probably work out, but you're much better off growing into who you are best fitted and distinctly nutrient-filled to become.
That’s how you produce award winning produce.
Man is called “Adam” from the word “Adama” - earth, for we are G-d's cherished earth. Just like earth, we are designed to produce awesomeness throughout our lifetime.
All we need to do is plant in ourselves, seeds of the fruit that flourishes best in our particular soil.
I am destined to fill the world with award winning produce as a Jew, as outlined in the Torah's spiritual farming instruction manual for us.
Each group and faith in society is infused with specifically enriched soil, to produce their precise award winning fruit.
Some seeds are good everywhere, like the seven universal laws for a beautiful planet. Otherwise, nurture your own garden, and produce your own unique awesomeness for the world.
While we're at it, here's a farming tip that I've learned.
Focus less on the few bad apples, and more on planting better fruit all around you.
In farming, the bad apples will fall to the ground, and the lessons they teach us will become fertilizer for the growth of the world's ultimate award winning orchard.
Encourage people to produce the award winning fruit of their precisely prescribed human earth, and we will create a breathtaking world.
An award winning universe!
*Jewish Burial Society.