A Tale of Two Seeds
By M’nucha Bialik, shidduch coach
Two seeds are in a box, on the ground.
Come, let’s listen closely and hear what they are saying…
“My dear brother, it’s almost Tu B’shvat – it’s time to roll out of this box and bury ourselves deep into the ground!”
“You know, my brother, I’m comfortable here. This box protects us from the rain, the cold – I really don’t want to go out and make myself so vulnerable to the world. Besides, it would be admitting to everyone that I’m not happy with the way I am. I really don’t like making myself so vulnerable to others. I think I’ll stay.”
“But, I don’t understand – how can you possibly grow into the most amazing beautiful tree that you’re supposed to grow into? How will you produce other seeds? You can’t stay in this box!”
“My dear brother, Hashem can do anything. You know as well as I do that there are some seeds who stayed in their boxes and Hashem let dirt slip into the boxes. The boxes opened from the rain and they grew into beautiful trees! If Hashem wants that to happen to me, He can do it. And if not, I just have to accept the life that Hashem has given me. Maybe not everyone is meant to become a tree and have seeds of their own.”
“But, brother dear, doesn’t Hashem expect us to do hishtadlus? Of course, we know that it’s not necessary; but since Adam sinned, we have to do what is considered “normal” hishtadlus – that’s the way Hashem made the world, you know that. Sure, Hashem might have made a nes niglah (an open miracle) for some seeds, but it’s our responsibility to do that which is considered “typical” hishtadlus. We have to go out, get muddy, and let the rain pour on us or someone water us. B’derech tevah (in a normal manner), that’s the hishtadlus that we must do.”
“Listen, sweet brother, you know as well as I do that the statistics are just not in our favor. You’ve been reading the same magazines as I. And even if you haven’t – just look around. See all those nice seeds – this one can grow to be a beautiful peach tree, and this one into an almond tree, and this one into a fig tree – they’re all just as amazing and capable as I am – you know that the chances for seeds to grow into beautiful trees are not that great and that it just gets worst over time! And, not only that – here, I am safe. It’s true that it might be less likely for me to grow into a tree, but it still is possible. And if Hashem wants it to happen, it will. I daven to Hashem all the time. “
“And, if I go out”, he continued, whispering, “I’ll most certainly get hurt. I may not develop properly and I’ll be making myself vulnerable to so many people! I’ll have to let them know what kind of tree I’m growing into so I can be planted in the right place. People will criticize me and tell me that there are already too much of that kind of tree or else they’ll say, that the kind of tree I am doesn’t usually survive, or someone will just step on me (purposely or accidentally). I’ll have to get dirty and be uncomfortable. I’ll get rained on. Some people might just pull me out and play with me and then I’ll die. My brother, if I go out, I may die from the pain, the humiliation, and from the exposure. Obviously, that’s not what Hashem wants from me.”
“My dear brother, I know that it’s scary, but now is the time – it’s almost Tu B’shvat. You know as well as I do that this is the time for us to go out. I am going to do the hishtadlus I have to do. I will tell the world what kind of seed I am. I will daven to Hashem that I will grow strong, and I am going out. I want to become a beautiful tree and this is the hishtadlus that I must do. I must be going now.”
“And I, my brother, am staying here – maybe in a year or two or ten if nothing happens to me while I’m in this box, I’ll leave one day. Bye, my brother – you’re very brave. I wish you luck.”
“Good luck to you too. You can still join me.”
::: Interval of beautiful, sad music:::
10 years later.
The little seed, a little more wrinkled, a bit more experienced, a bit more hardened in some places and softer in others, looks out of his box and sees a beautiful tree – it looks a bit familiar.
“Hey, is that you my brother? Wow! You’ve grown! And what’s that I see? I see that you have seeds of your own.”
“Hi! Is that you, my brother? How are you – I’ve been thinking of you all these years and wondering how and where you are. I see that you’ve learned so much about growing and bitachon – you look like you’ve accomplished so much. But, my dear brother, you’re still in the box?”
The tree continued talking to the seed, “Look, my brother, it was very, very hard being out of the box. I didn’t develop into a tree right away; I did get hurt, but I didn’t let myself lose my way when I had feelings of despair. I just kept having bitachon and davening, and now look what Hashem has done for me. It’s not too late for you. You’re the type of seed that would grow splendidly right now! Come, please, it might hurt a bit, but it’s worth it. And besides, you know that this is what you have to do – this is what Hashem wants from you.”
The seed thinks and thinks – should he go or should he stay?
Well, what would you do?
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
The End of the Story
I just couldn’t leave the story like that 🙂
Don’t worry, the story has a good ending. That little seed decided that this year was THE year. He was going to roll out of that box. He had more experience now – he could handle the foolish things people would say to him. Sure, he might get hurt, but this year he was going to go out into the mud and the dirt. He was going to get rained on and he would daven, daven, daven to grow so strong. He would tell everyone what kind of tree that he was going to grow into so that he would be placed in the right place and given the right amount of water. He knew that this is what he had to do, and he would do it.
:::10 years later, beautiful and happy music:::
Two trees stood looking at each other.
The older tree looked at the newer tree and said, “Is that you, my brother?”
“Yup. It sure is.”
“Wow! You are positively beautiful. You are breathtaking. And what’s that I see? Wow. Such cute little seeds of your own you have. Incredible!”
“Thank you”, the newer tree replied. “Thank you for encouraging me to grow. Thank you for giving me the strength to take the risk.”
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”
P.S. This does not mean that you have not grown until now! Chas v’shalom! You have!!!! And you have grown well, my friends! You have made yourself stronger. You have made yourself beautiful. It could very well be that before now, you would have been too weak or you would have tried to grow into a type of tree that is not good for you. But now, if you have worked on yourself these years (even if you’re not perfect yet – and you won’t be, I guarantee it ☺), it is time to take that risk and grow. Tell everyone what kind of tree you want to be – don’t be afraid. Or be afraid, but do it anyways. You can do it!
Please think about the ideas presented on these pages, adapt them to your own situation and to your own personal journey. Please be in touch. I’d love to hear your questions, thoughts, feelings, fears, concerns, and ideas. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.