Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Theme Section: A Seed Sprouts — 8 True Stories

A seed dropped into loamy soil, covered with dark, fragrant earth A word, a deed, an image, dropped into the fertile field of a heart A month, a year, a decade passes Tiny green shoots peep out of the ground Nestling inspiration takes root, tendrils stretch toward the sunlight—and grow upward

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

My Little Black Book

Miriam Klein Adelman

“Do not destroy a fruit-bearing tree … because a man is a tree of the field.” Mrs. Lesser (nיe Diamond) taught us those lines from Devarim in Chumash class 35 years ago. Of all the lessons she imparted in four years of high school — besides for ma hakoshi shel Rashi? — this is the one that stands out most in my mind.

As the Jews go forth to war, the verse explains, they are enjoined not to wantonly destroy the fruit-producing trees of the enemy. The deeper meaning, Mrs. Lesser taught, is that every human being is like a fruit-bearing tree. As long as the individual has the capacity to accomplish, whether they’re actually producing now or not, we don’t tear down, we build. We should not destroy any quality in ourselves either, she emphasized, even if it is the fruit of the enemy, the yetzer hara, because each middah can be utilized in the service of Hashem. And Mrs. Lesser lived by the words she taught. 

Smoothing and resmoothing the folds on the black accordion pleated skirt I had carefully chosen to wear with my circa late-70s cowl-neck sweater, I sat opposite Miss Diamond on a straight-backed cane chair in her parents’ living room. In my damp palms, I clutched a little black book.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


 
Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time