What I Learned From a Pomegranate

Photo by Priyanka Singh on Unsplash

I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “Judaism isn’t an all or nothing deal,”
Each time it was it was in response to different individuals who initially backed away from doing a single mitzvah, with “but Rabbi, I’m not religious”.
Most recently it was when I offered to put tefillin on with someone I was meeting with, and he asked, “but is that OK, if I came here without a Kippa and will leave without one too?”
“Of course it’s OK,” I said, “because Judaism isn’t an all or nothing deal”.

Yesterday we celebrated the holiday of Tu B’shvat/ The New Year for Trees. (Scroll down to see all the ways that it was commemorated here- amongst the ladies, the preschoolers and the Hebrew club kids)
Each of the fruits for which Israel was blessed, has within it a life lesson for us.
The pomegranate hints at us that “Judaism isn’t an all or nothing deal.”

The pomegranate is hollow, yet filled with individual seeds. Contrast that with any other fruit,- the fig for example, another one of Israel’s specials- also very seedy, but all part of one densely filled and whole product.
Each of the pomegranates seeds are not just an individual to themselves, they are even packaged in their own little sack.
The Talmud tells us, that ““the empty ones among the Jewish people are as full of mitzvos as a pomegranate is full of seeds”.
Judaism, in other words, is not reserved for the pious and righteous- one need not be as wholesome and complete as a fig- rather each and every individual can fill himself with one little seed at a time.
And then, as the Rebbe explained, each individual seed- each single mitzvah that a Jew does- fills his entire being.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom.



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