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Marcia Stark Meth / Emmy Stark Zitter / Miriam Stark Zakon

Regifting. We all do it. The stick blender you got at the anniversary party is fine, but you already have six of them — so pass it along to your neighbor’s daughter at the engagement party. And what bar mitzvah boy hasn’t taken one or two of the identical seforim sets he received and presented them to his friend at the next week’s simchah? But there’s another type of gift, one that can’t be reboxed and rewrapped and regifted. You see what a person truly needs — and you give it to him or her.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Money, we’re often told, doesn’t grow on trees. Neither, we can assume, do gifts. Except for when they do. It took us two years to build our house, known in Israel as a “cottage.” Two years of aggravation, of dealing with bankers and builders, late mortgage payments, cost overruns, worker strikes. Two years of great joy, knowing we would own a home in the heart of the land that Hashem gave His People as an eternal gift. Watching the house go up, I envisioned my dream home all finished. A cozy white cottage with a red roof, a small porch, and, of course, a garden in front blooming with fruit trees. Here’s what you’re supposed to do when planning a garden: consider things like climate, rain, growing cycles, soil quality, etc. Here’s what we did: we said, Hey, let’s plant an orange tree! Citrus blossoms smell so nice in the spring. And what about a lemon tree — the kids can make fresh-squeezed lemonade! But most of all — I wanted a cherry tree. Why? Perhaps to remember the America I’d left — I’d think ofGeorgeWashington and his mythical cherry tree every time I came home! Or maybe because of a poem I taught my students describing the cherry as the “loveliest of trees.” Or maybe simply because I love cherries, their small, perfect roundness, their deep red skin, their sweetness with just a hint of sour. Bite-sized perfection, courtesy of Hashem.

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