Our sons are sent home from school, every once in a while, with a packet of seeds, some instruction and the request that we bring any plants back to the school on a specified date to get a certificate attesting to our (or our sons’) horticultural prowess. Invariably we find ourselves with a droopy stalk and no foliage and little or no prowess worthy of certification. But this time we’re doing well. The bulbs arrived in October and, planted in pots on the kitchen windowsill, the green shoots are poking though the soil, even as the temperature dips and the snow threatens.
It’s a dark week, not only in terms of the calendar and the seasons, but also in terms of our Torah cycle. Parashat Vayehi is the story of death – of Jacob and then Joseph; it marks the end of the Genesis narrative. It’s easy to see it as the end, but it is not. Of course it isn’t, already the seeds for the future are germinating. The seventy descendants of Jacob are in Egypt, ready for the opening of the Exodus narrative, poised for the future. We are ready for the journey from darkness into light.
It’s been a dark week for a number of our members also; we wish a long life to Stephen Lewis on the passing of his mother and Ian Thomas on the death of his father. I’m also writing this having returned from the stonesetting of our member Raymond Westbrook and we wish his family comfort and a long life also. But the seeds for the future are planted, and under the frozen soil there is germination and life renewed.
I’m taking a couple of weeks of leave from after Shabbat. It’s been a glorious four months for the Shul, there have been highlights all around the community, from services, to education, to providing much more focussed pastoral support and our involvement in the holy task of healing the world. I look forward to coming back, ready to nurture the blooms that mark our future – at New London and on the kitchen windowsill.