Dear reader,

I love this time of year. The leaves are turning luxuriant autumn shades; my favorites are the rich, deep mahoganies, auburns and burgundies. There is glorious color everywhere.

In the spring, flowers brighten our world with their brilliant, vivid primary colors. They make me think of bright-eyed children, enveloped in a joie de vivre. They face their days with daring, colorful enthusiasm and flamboyant joy.

But the fall’s aging leaves, the mustard yellows and burnt orange, clinging to life with their last breath, mesmerize me. These leaves are like a mature individual, made wise by his shades of life experiences. Their deeper colors symbolize a fuller perspective of hues and a more multidimensional perception of our world—and of our relationship with our Creator.

Each of us, too, has personal moments of glory when we’re in full bloom, admired by those around us. But these moments too wither, as the wheel of life turns and our moments of accomplishment fade.

Lately, these glorious leaves have been arriving at their final destination—with their final descent to the ground. The trees, soon to be bared, remind me of the celebratory cycle of life, and how quickly love and birth changes seasons into loss and heartbreak.

Yet the fading trees outside my window also seem to be whispering an inspiring message. The small sapling that was so weak and hapless that it could almost be blown about by the raging winter winds has grown taller, thicker. Its branches now reach up to the heavens; its roots have taken a firm grip in the earth. Though its leaves have fallen away throughout each of the seasons, its core has developed and matured.

Through the passage of time, each of us, too—and our nation as a whole—develops into a stronger being, with a surer sense of who we are and deeper convictions.

Over the last few weeks, as the Jewish people, we’ve experienced too much loss and heartbreak. Hopelessly, we’ve watched the precious lives of our brothers and sisters being smothered to death with guns and knives, murdered by those who hate us.

And yet, even as precious, beautiful leaves are ripped away from our tall tree by these winds of hate, the tree of our nation, the Jewish people, continues to grow stronger, our roots extending ever deeper.

There are those who think they can break us or destroy us. They take away from us our best and greatest, our most colorful and beautiful. But they do not understand that the Jewish tree “is a tree of life for those who grasp it.”

Am Yisroel Chai! Let us pray and resolve to do extra mitzvot for the safety of our brethren. But as we do, let us remember that the tree of the Jewish people is alive, its roots are strong and resilient, and its branches continue to reach ever higher.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW