Earth Etude for Elul 29: Hope Sprouting

by Rabbi Judith Kummer


~ When the world is whirling

and despair for the future begins to crowd in

I turn to growing things,

seeking hope.


The sweet potato plant cutting I made last week,

Bereft of leaves but stuck into a vase to root anyway–

Just in case–

has now sprouted tiny purple and spring-green leaves,

against all odds.


How did it know to grow, know it could grow?  What

generative force propelled it forward

into a future I sometimes cannot imagine?


In the garden

Swaths of bright blooms

Separate out into  a single glorious flower,


against all odds.


What force unfurled this flower to look just like its ancestors

But unique and different in its own right?


Peering inside

I see depths


A mandala ready to focus me

If I am willing to stop

Pause and see

Stillness centering

Time paused

The whirling no more

The hope ready to sprout.


Rabbi Judith Kummer is the Executive Director of the Jewish Chaplaincy Council of Massachusetts.  A Boston native, she earned a BA from Barnard College in Environmental Studies and Urban Planning and was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. Rabbi Kummer is an avid organic gardener, potter, hiker and social activist.

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