They are beautiful yellow flowers, adding a bit of color to an otherwise brown field of vision. Small, yes, but plentiful…and a crisis of faith? The broccoli in our Urban Garden has “bolted” and is now producing flowers instead of vegetables. While our first instinct might be to shake our head at the irony of it being too warm in Seattle for these early plants, this week’s Torah portion translated the problem rather differently In Behar-Behukotai, we read: “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit.” Did our broccoli plants respond not to natural conditions but to the transgressions of its planters?
Reform Judaism would affirm that this isn’t the case! Our understanding of meteorology is quite different than the authors of the biblical text, as is our understanding of why bad things happen to good people – or broccoli plants as the case may be. We affirm that torah (with a little ’t’, the collected wisdom and writings of Jewish tradition) offers many competing theological views, and while we do indeed reap what we sow we also understand that there is a time for everything under heaven. A balance must be found among these competing theologies – won’t you join us for Torah study on Shabbat morning at 9:30am?