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My Orchid Plant Revisited

 Some time ago I wrote a short essay about my orchid plant and its wondrous ability to revive itself and flower after months of being dormant. Recently when I was in house quarantine upon returning to Jerusalem, I again noticed that the orchid plant in my kitchen rejuvenated – I believe for the third time- and was flowering beautifully. When one is confined for fourteen days, one notices such events and gives them a little more thought since there is little else to occupy one’s mind.

 I am no longer able to read, so I am thrilled beyond words to be distracted. And the newly bloomed orchid plant proved to be such a pleasant distraction.  I examined the plant closely and, in wonder, admired the subtlety of color that its flowers contained. I thought immediately of a poem from my childhood that stated: “Poems are made by fools like you and me but only God can make a tree.” So, it is with orchid plants as well.
The combination of beauty and apparent fragility, with tenacious resilience to bloom again after shedding its original flowers is worthy of human contemplation and even emulation.
There is much to be learned from the natural world that we inhabit. The Lord has made all things with a purpose, and wisdom is necessary to appreciate this. It is why we are instructed to make a blessing of thanksgiving to the Creator when we see and appreciate the wonders of His world in which we live.
I understand more deeply than I did before the anguish of the prophet Yonah when the plant that afforded him such pleasure and beauty was suddenly taken away from him. He utters a bitter lament toward Heaven at the disappearance. And Heaven replies to him, in essence, saying that one must see all events in this world in relative perspective.
One cannot care more for a plant, no matter how wondrous it may be, than for the lives of the human beings who lived in the city of Ninveh. And plants, like my orchid, rejuvenate themselves after being dormant temporarily do not preclude being verdant and productive in the future.  
We have all been pretty much dormant over the past few months, and I will be the first to admit that such a state of being allows muscles to atrophy and spirits to sag. Vitality once lost is often difficult to regain. It is simply because of this known danger that lurks ever so menacingly, that my rejuvenated orchid plant brought me such assurance and hope. 
If plants can and do rejuvenate, so too can human beings. It is within our make-up to be able to do if we attempt it. We have been through a very harrowing time, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But the hallmark of the Jewish people throughout the ages has been our resilience, optimism, and renewed productivity. This trait will not fail us in this hour of challenge and rejuvenation.
Shabat shalom
Berel Wein

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