Spring Lessons Learned in Marine Park
Every once in a while, I enjoy composing an article for The Jewish Echo which though light in spirit is nonetheless substantive and meaningful. So here goes!
As many of my readers know, I am not a resident of Marine Park, but since one of our young couples and their children are indeed denizens of this very fine community, I find myself enchanted by my occasional visits to them here.
Marine Park has a great deal to offer in the spring—so much so that I have had to hold back and confine myself to just two of my many springtime observations. I shall call them “lessons” here because I tend to view life didactically—that is, as an ongoing education, as it were. (Interestingly enough, in the second volume of his world-renowned Michtav Mei’Eliyahu, Harav E. E. Dessler avers that everything in a person’s ambience is essentially his teacher!)
The first lesson involves the end of this year’s Lag BaOmer parade: you remember, of course, that climactic motorcycle display of derring-do! Well, I was there also to see it—and something bothered me about watching trained cyclists risk their very lives to zoom seventy-five feet or more into the early-May skies. (Incidentally, the rider could easily let go of his bike at any time that he was in the air, since he and the bike were travelling at the same velocity.) This past week I received my answer from one of my protégés—T.J.L.— who lives in Marine Park. He was unable to attend the event because he was shteiging ois in learning in his yeshivah. And knowing this young man as I do, I certainly believe that he was putting his whole nefesh into his studies in the same manner as those motorcycle daredevils were doing. What an object lesson for us all! And what an inspiring commitment to continue soaring ever higher!
The second lesson is one that I learned on Kimball Street, here in Marine Park. There are a number of trees—in particular, sycamore and silver maple—which are not merely old but also unfazed by the innovations of humankind. Proof of this assertion may be seen in my accompanying pictures. (By the way, the “sycamore” is a maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), while the “sycomore” seems to be the “shikmah” of Egypt and Asia Minor—a member of the fig genus [Ficus sycamorus] cited in the Talmud.) Look, if you will, at the amazing prowess of these old trees in displacing heavy slabs of concrete sidewalk. No matter how carefully these walks were planned by human engineers, the trees have certainly prevailed in the end. What a humbling thought to bear in mind as we follow the progression of spring into summer: The Basheffer Himself created nature (hateva [nature] in gematriya=86; E-lokim in gematriya is likewise 86), and man must correspondingly bow his head in deep contemplation of the awesome might ensconced in every tree!
Yes sir, here in Marine Park we are surrounded by a plethora of amazing events and phenomena that can imbue us with a feeling of awe and reverence. In future articles, I hope to delve into other examples of the lessons which lie at our fingertips if we but open our hearts and minds to them.
In the meantime, may you all have a great, edifying summer!
Questions or comments? I may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author at this year’s Brooklyn (including Marine Park) Lag BaOmer parade.
The motorcycle extravaganza at the end of the parade.
Marine Park trees encroaching upon their neighboring sidewalks.