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Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5782

May 1, 2022

Gathering Together in Friendship

“Love your fellow as yourself” —Leviticus.

“This is a major principle of the Torah” —Rabbi Akiva

Ian White, the maker of Australian Bush flower essences, recently posted an opinion piece about the benefits of spending quality time together in “real time”, face to face, noting that when it comes to dealing with life’s many adventures, women, in general, feel better by getting together to talk things out.

Last year my land line telephone service went dead thanks to a power shut down by Verizon as part of the company’s plan to switch everyone to FIOS.

Being the last person left on earth who does not want a cell phone, I’ve become more dependent on emailing (although I do like to write) and using Skype to make calls and, ugh, its text bar to communicate

Coupled with the vast majority of events and learning having switched to on-line venues, I find that as much as this has broadened my horizons, the camaraderie and inspiration I get from being “in person” is felt keenly missing. Sitting in one place by myself in front of a screen no matter how interesting or engaging the topic still seems to leave me feeling a bit empty and lonely for company to talk with about what’s been told.

Thank G-d, most, if not all, of the Covid restrictions have lifted and we will all be able to shift back to being together in person!

Plant World Wisdom

“The way in which we cultivate, preserve and sustain the landscape around us ought to also call our attention to the way we do so with the people in our lives” said internationally acclaimed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in her lecture, Stewards of Healing Plants – Creating Garden Sanctuaries, for the Women Working for the Earth (on-line) Summit this past weekend.

Rosemary went on to say that taking people (and by extension our dira b’tachtonim) for granted leads to stagnation; we simply stop growing. In my humble opinion, texting, especially in abbreviations, could not do more to undermine appreciating and making meaningful time for one another.

Echoing Rosemary’s observation in her own talk, Kate Gilday, founder of Woodland Essences where she makes flower essences from forest and woodland trees, remarked that relationships often come with surprises, so it’s very important to pay attention to them and keep showing up!

Friendship in the Light of Chassidus

In Likkutei Dibburim, Volume One, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, recalled a gathering with Chassidim in which he spoke about an exchange of letters that were penned between the Maggid of Mezritch and Reb Pinchas of Korets in 1750.

Reb Pinchas wrote how grateful he felt to have been remembered by the Maggid that Yom Kippur saying, “You should know that at the very moment I was privileged to be thus remembered, I felt it here.”

Elaborating on the theme of connection and camaraderie, the Previous Rebbe describes the ways that a friendship manifests itself between people, measured first by   a handshake or a simple shalom aleichem.

Lamenting that at the time (it was 1932) a certain coolness and superficiality had crept into greeting one another, the Rebbe reminisced how in the past, a shalom aleichem would ring true and whole-hearted because that’s the way people were, warm and congenial.

A higher level of friendship, went on the Rebbe, is the kind enveloped by a hearty hug or kiss on the cheek and even higher is when friends meet and take the time to engage in a long conversation, talking and listening to one another about their life and experiences.

But the highest bond between people is when one friend senses the other, regardless of the distance - exemplifying the Alter Rebbe’s teaching that through thought a person can and should be by his friend's side wherever he is - which, in turn, becomes the starting point for being able to help him. materially and spiritually.

Friendship Flower Essences

Gifts from the Abishter’s Garden, flower essences support and nourish loving-kindness and goodwill, the foundations of friendship. 

 Here are some flower essence selections that came to mind.  Photos courtesy of Flower Essence makers listed.

Mariposa Lily (Flower Essence Society/FES)

Making and nurturing relationships begins with the experience of our being loved, cherished and cared for by our mothers. Mariposa Lily nourishes the loving bond between mothers and children.  Where maternal love and care was weak, interrupted or sadly missing or if the ties that bind have unraveled, Mariposa Lily can help heal the wounds and misunderstanding, 

re-uniting this most essential human bond.

Red Helmut Orchid (Australian Bush)

Signatured by the flower’s helmut-like petal shielding the bud, Red Helmut Orchid helps to repair and restore the bonds of love and understanding between a father and his children, particularly between fathers and sons.  

Mallow (FES)

​A pretty pink cup shaped flower that opens to the sun. 

Mallow enhances friendships and the warm flow of exchange between people. 

Kanya (Australian Living Essences)

A good remedy for those who tend to shirk their responsibilities and leave everyone else to carry their load. Learning to selflessly lend a hand and show up. Reliability makes for happy encounters!​ 

Calendula/Marigold (FES)

The flower for good communication.

 Calendula instills warmth and receptivity into dialogue and discourse.

Chestnut Bud (Bach)

When everything seems to always be “surprising”, Chestnut Bud’s sticky film catches one’s attention to what they keep missing. Tuning in brings about the insight and wisdom needed to learn from repeated miss-takes and improve their relationships and circumstances. 

Bunchberry (Alaskan Essences)

This is a fantastic flower essence remedy from Alaska that keeps a person from getting distracted. Try it for improving the focus on face to face communication. 

 See: Bunchberry Flower Essence - by Alaskan Essences - YouTube

Bush Gardenia (Australian Bush)

This flower helps to draw people together who are drifting apart

when any number of reasons 

have taken their attention away from one another.  

Zinnia (FES) & White Desert Zinnia​ (Desert Alchemy)

These flowers restore our sense of humour and remind us not to take ourselves too seriously; 

And, to remain open to other people’s opinions without feeling offended. There’s nothing like a dash of laughter to bring people back together again.  

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