What a gift it is in life when we can nurture a project, a plant, an idea, or a human being from seed to a state of thriving. In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Tazria, we read about the instructions for birthing rituals including circumcision. Interestingly, the Torah does not use just one word for the birthing process, but instead two – tazria (to seed) and yalda (to birth). In a text where every addition and repetition is full of meaning, rabbinic commentaries notice the significance of the presence of both these verbs. Their presence reminds us that any birthing process is just that, a process, one that can be full of stages and milestones, setbacks and miracles.
My greatest joy over the last four years has been witnessing all the milestones and miracles in the seeding and development of Ramah in Northern California, and doing so in tandem with the development of young leaders and of my own daughter who was born just a few months before camp opened in 2016. When I first walked along camp’s shores and dreamed of Havdallah on the Beach, I scribbled down the following words:
Years from now when my children ask where we came from-
I will point here to these waves of familiarity
where the nuclei of any summer
are the unexpected leaders we make of each other.