| #In A Word |


mishpacha image

Hands that stitch, hands that shape, hands that build. With skill and strength and devotion, human hands have fashioned the homes that shelter us, the clothing we wear, the food we eat. And if we are attuned enough, we can see traces of the Hand that positions us in our precisely ordained spot on earth, gifting us the tools and knowledge and circumstances we need to contribute our own handiwork to creation.

What does handiwork look like to you?


Tree of Knowledge

Allison Josephs


his is the picture of the rainbow eucalyptus tree I saw when I was 16 years old in a tropical rainforest in Hawaii — the tree that changed my life. I had been somewhere between an atheist and agnostic up until that point: after a father in my public school murdered his children and himself eight years earlier, I had fallen into an existential crisis at the ripe old age of eight and had been on a journey to find meaning in life ever since then.

I was certain that the meaning I was searching for would come from some exotic place, but then an after-school Hebrew High teacher — the first frum Jew I had ever really met — was talking about Hashem in a way that actually felt relevant. Still, I wasn’t sure if I was convinced. How do you connect to G-d when you’ve been living a life devoid of Him?

Then, over winter break of that year, my family took a trip to Hawaii and went hiking in a tropical rainforest. We came across some trees that were so exquisite I was sure their bark had been painted by an artist. When I looked to the top of one of the trees, and I saw that the color went all the way up, in that moment, for the first time in my life, I knew there was a G-d. And not just a detached Supreme Being. For just a split second, perhaps because I delved one layer deeper into perception, I became aware of a Unity running throughout all of existence, which filled me with immense trust and love of this G-d.

So, in one sense, my answer did come from an exotic place. But then once I discovered my Maker, I went to my own backyard to learn how to create and deepen my relationship with Him.

Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 757. Allison Josephs is the founder and director of Jew in the City and Project Makom


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Tagged: In A Word