Dear Readers,

The older I become, the faster the seasons seem to revolve, passing by at an almost dizzying pace.

In the spring, the flowering trees brighten our world with their vivid primary colors. They make me think of bright-eyed children, enveloped in 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 her 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.

As I watch the transforming scenery, I am reminded of a verse from Ecclesiastes, “a generation has passed, a generation has arrived, but the earth stands still forever.” The names change and the backdrop may be different. Some families are larger, and some individuals achieve more colorful accomplishments. But each eventually repeats the cycle of life as love and birth changes season into loss and heartbreak.

Each of us, too, has personal moments of glory when we’re in full bloom—sharing our abundant shade with others, giving off beautiful deeds for the world to appreciate. But these moments wither away, as the wheel of life turns, and our inspiration and accomplishment are depleted. We start off our lives full of wonder, full of hope and belief in our unlimited potential, only to have our expectations tumble down into reality with the passage of time.

Sometimes, I wonder if there is any point or purpose to these cycles. Is our world progressing forward, or are we simply in a cycle of endless and meaningless repetition?

Yet the fading trees seem to be whispering an inspiring message.

When we moved into our home several years ago, our tree was but a small sapling, so weak and hapless that it was almost blown about by the raging winter winds. Over the changing seasons, it has grown taller and 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 through each of the seasons, its trunk is fuller and more mature.

Through the passage of time, each of us develops into a stronger person with deeper convictions and a surer sense of who we are. And looking back into our history—even when precious, beautiful leaves have been ripped away from our tall national tree by the winds of aggression and turmoil—the tree of the Jewish people continues to grow stronger, our roots extending ever deeper. The Jewish tree “is a tree of life for those who hold fast to it.”

For man is a tree of the field. (Deut. 20:19)

Through the seasons of our lives, each of us is developing into a fuller, taller, more mature tree, while awaiting the time when our branches will touch the very heavens.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW