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Of Leaves and Of Life

As I was taking a morning walk, enjoying the crisp fresh air and admiring the fall foliage, I noticed the sounds of crunching leaves with each step I took. 

It was just summer, and here the pathway is already covered in scattered leaves of many golden hues. Having grown up in Canada, the sound of crunching leaves brings back the happiest of memories. I am reminded of a beautiful story I heard as a child. 

It is told about the Holy Baal Shem Tov, who was once walking in the forest with his disciple, and explaining to him that every single thing that happens in this world is all G-d’s doing. Nothing happens by chance. At that moment, a leaf fell off the tree and fluttered down to the ground. “This too?” asked the student. “Of course!” the Holy Tzadik replied. “Lift up the leaf and see what lies beneath it”. When the student bent down to pick up the leaf, he discovered a tiny worm underneath it. The Baal Shem Tov told him “This little worm cried out to G-d that it cannot handle the heat anymore. The sun’s rays were too strong for him. And so G-d sent the wind, to blow the branch of the tree, that would loosen this little leaf and make it fall precisely in this spot, so that it may cover the tiny worm and protect it from the sun.”

Ever since I heard that story, the leaves lying on the ground tickle my imagination. I wonder what surprises I may discover, were I to bend down and peek under each leaf. Whom it may be protecting, for whom G-d decided to make it fall right here in this spot, at this precise moment. Who knows?

Life is full of leaves. They come in many different colors, some are bright and beautiful, others seem like they are dry and withered. They land in various spots at various times throughout our day. They are G-d’s little notes to us. All we need to do is pick them up, and discover the gift that lies beneath them.

Nothing happens by chance. The Baal Shem tov said that even a leaf cannot fall to the ground without reason.

This week: sharpen your senses, be aware. Take notice of the little gifts that G-d sent you. Write them down, and Thank Him.

Join me next week, and together we will unwrap another little gift.

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