A Horseradish Reversal

Every year, I take the head from the horseradish root we use at the seder and plant it deep in the ground. But inevitably, just as the new greens emerge the following spring, one of the garden-eating wild things in our yard will devour the entire plant, root and all, leaving us with nothing.

By now, our recent sedarim feel as ancient as our slavery in Egypt and we no longer require fresh horseradish. Like so much else that’s gotten lost in our COVID-induced isolation, I’d forgotten about the root I planted right after last Pesach until this morning, when I noticed these bursts of green in the garden.

Shocked that they’d not been eaten (perhaps the hose has served as a fortress), I brushed away some of the dirt to check on the roots. They have to stay a little longer in the dark underground to fill out, to be ready for picking. But still, there they were in all their hideous, knobby-topped glory, and I smiled a smile I haven’t mustered in weeks.

The leaves are another story. Unbothered by rabbits and deer, they stand, when fully grown, like a proud gathering of fans, rippled at the edges and ribbed in the center. A verdant crown atop such an ugly, biting vegetable is a lesson unto itself — about silver linings and finding good and not allowing bitterness to consume us. To have played the tiniest role in bringing something forth from the earth, a bit of new life, gives me the taste of something hopeful, and that’s no small thing right now.

Who knows what this week will bring, our dishes packed away and Pesach behind us? Perhaps the animals will leave the plants alone, finding something sweeter to nosh on, and I will be able to offer friends fresh horseradish root with which to prepare an array of quarantine condiments. But mostly it’s the hope I’m clinging to. I’ll lop off the tops and stick them back in the ground.

Wishing the whole wide world a peaceful day of rest, and a Shabbos filled with hope.

Gut Shabbos! Shabbat Shalom!

It’s Snowing, and I Have a New Website

It’s my favorite kind of morning. Snow is falling. Upstairs, my boys are sound asleep, happy to have the time off from school. I’m off, too, and these extra hours are a gift, wrapped up with the silence unique to a day like this. I’m sitting here with my coffee – one eye on the computer screen, the other watching everything go white outside the window.

Though I feel especially peaceful when it snows, I’m still nervous and excited to welcome you to my new website. Take a look around and let me know what you think.

It’s as if I gave birth to a baby and she’s crawling around on the Interweb. In fact, so many analogies to childbirth come to mind, I could go on and on – the months’ long gestation period and the labor pains and the feelings of gratitude and accomplishment that it’s finally out there. I’m now looking forward to watching her grow and hope you’ll join me for the ride.

This is my blog’s new home. My previous blogsite, which has been faithful to me since I began blogging in late 2011, will be retiring to a warmer climate, where she’ll finally be able to catch up on her reading.

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In the spirit of Tu B’shvat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, I thought I’d share my latest essay, in which I confess my jealousy of trees, which get to stand tall – far from the chaos down here. http://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/our-lives-as-a-tree/

I look forward to staying in touch.