“The future is in the present”


            There is an ancient medrash that relates the following tale. Once there was a traveler who was feeling the effects of his journey. He began to become famished with hunger, and needed a break from walking in the boiling sun. Looking up, he noticed a large fruit tree in the distance. Reaching the tree he reached up and helped himself to a few of its fruits. He then proceeded to lie down in the shade for a short while.

            Waking up refreshed, he gathered his belongings. Before departing he wished to bless the tree that allowed him to replenish his strength. Thinking to himself, “A blessing to grow tall and strong is naught for that has come true. A blessing that your fruit should be delicious has also come to being”.

            Finally he blessed the tree saying,” My dear tree, I pray that the seed planted from the fruit of your tree shall give forth fruits as beautiful and delicious as yours”. He then went on his way.

            They say you are supposed to live with the times and the holiday of Tu B’shevat – the New Year for tree is just around the corner. This analogy and the upcoming holiday have got me thinking about the future.

            New technologies allow a peak into what the future will bring. Comcast advertises that it is “The Future”. We all have read articles on how to keep up with this fast paced world despite having all the latest gadgets. Everyone marvels about new technology although our children will have no interest in them. Allow me to provide an example. Who plays Atari these days?

            The truth is that the future is not in a video Ipod with more gigabytes or even a robot that can do your dishes. The future is in our children and our children’s children. I admit this sounds corny, but most good and true things do. When is the last time you have seen GOOD news on a headline of a major newspaper?

            If you stop and think seriously for a few moments, you will see that our future is not corny nor is it to be thrown by the wayside. I think we can all say the same thing, “We work hard today so our children will have a better life”.

            According to statistics, children as a group are abused in all areas far more then woman, homeless or anyone else. This is a result of a “live for today” attitude. If you look at Jewish tradition and philosophy, you will see that the greatest and busiest rabbis took special care to instruct parents how to bring up their parents.

            Our rabbis teach us, that G‑d refused to give the Torah to the Jewish people until they produced a guarantor. The guarantee being, that the Jewish people would continue to fulfill G‑d’s commandments and delve in the Torah’s teachings. At first they brought forth their wealth. Even the forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would not suffice for a guarantor. The great Moses was not accepted either. Finally the Jewish people brought forth their children saying they will be our guarantors, and G‑d accepted happily. 

            Wealth comes and goes. Technology is new today and out of date tomorrow. Even human beings are subject to nature taking its course. This why Moses was not accepted as a guarantor. What isn’t affected by all this? Our children.

            If we rear our children in the right direction, they in turn will do the same with theirs. If we give our children an education and show respectful conduct toward others, they will pass this lesson along to future generations. Now that is telling the future.

            Sometimes I go to the park and relax with my family. There I see trees blossoming and children playing and smiling. I remember the blessing that man gave to the tree. I see our guarantors. All this results in a smile, for I know that the future seems a lot brighter and more delicious then today.