A JUNGLE OR A GARDEN?
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
This coming Tuesday marks the 20th Yarhzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe o.b.m. One of the underlying many themes of his teachings is the necessity of a deeper look of what we see to discover the positive perspective and infinite potential which lies behind what often appears to be negative. The following is an example of this taken from one of his essays.
The two words 'jungle' and 'garden' create very different images in our minds. A jungle has a feeling of chaos and disarray. It is place where dangerous animals roam; an unsafe environment. A garden on the other hand is an array of beautiful flowers blossoming and delicious fruit trees. The more beautiful the garden the greater the feeling of calmness and serenity.
Sometimes our world reminds us of a jungle. Newspaper headlines are filled with stories of violence, immorality and political unrest. Riots, protests, economic instability seem to be the dominating forces in many parts of the globe. Like the jungle, there is an uneasy feeling of unrest and an uncertain future.
But strangely, in the book "Song of Songs" King Solomon tells us that G-d calls this planet "my garden". How can such a chaotic world be G-d's garden?
In one of his public addresses, the Lubavitcher Rebbe o.b.m. shared the following idea. The jungle is a potential garden. It just takes work and time. If the gardener invests effort to clear the ground, dig up the earth, soften the soil and plant the appropriate seeds, then over time he will witness a transformation and a beautiful garden of flowers and trees will emerge.
Our world may sometimes look like a jungle. But G-d chose it to be His garden and we are His gardeners. With effort and determination to engage in positive activity, goodness and moral behaviour we are able to transform the chaos into serenity and the uncertainty into stability. The unrest and negativity around us is only superficial and transient. Every time we extend ourselves to engage in positive activity and every Mitzvah that we do plants a seed which will eventually sprout into a strong tall tree of permanence and beauty.
Perhaps a good start is to distance ourselves from the media's negative pessimistic view and learn to adopt G-d's positive attitude. When you wake up in the morning, don't see the apparent jungle around you but learn to notice the beautiful garden you are about to create.