Friday, May 12, 2017

Bonsai Gezunt

The purpose of this email is to water, feed and prune just right at the Shabbat table.... 
Please forward / like / tweet....
Wishing Mom and all mothers out there a happy Mother's Day.


TreeThank you for the many thoughtful replies to last week's May the Mitzvah Be With You, much appreciated.Today's theme is this lovely tree to your left.


<== that one

 
I found it in the National Aboretum.

Who knew that our taxes were supporting such a wonderful place?

It's huge, it's well-maintained, and it's free.

Now if you haven't already guessed, I took this picture at that angle in order to fool you.

Here is what the same tree looks like from further away:

Tree-zoom-outIt is, of course, a Brazilian Peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolia, which Wikipedia reports to have many (folk) medical uses but alas is an invasive weed in the USA.
(Perhaps creating a bonsai version of it is a fitting expression of the human need to control nature?)
 
Now how this does this lead to a question for your table?

I learned this week that in order to train an ordinary tree to become a bonsai, one must while the tree is still a sapling wrap the individual roots with wire. This will prevent them from growing thicker and thus dwarf the tree. You'll still need to keep the tree trimmed, but they actually tend to be healthier and live far longer than their non-bonsai cousins.

The first question for your table is: Why is this? Why should a bonsai tree live far longer than a regular tree?

Here's a hint:

The oldest bonzai in the Arboretum is over 400 years old. It was passed down within the same Hiroshima family for all those years, and survived the Bomb (as did the members of the family). The family gifted it to the United States of America in 1776.
 
Get the hint?

The answer is because bonzais tend to receive better care than regular trees. Their owners are zealous to give them the right amounts of water, fertilizer, pruning and sunshine. With all that loving care, they can live longer.

Second question for your table: Could lovingly giving the right amounts of water, food, pruning and sunshine increase human longevity too?


Shabbat Shalom


PS - If bonsai interest you, you may want to click on the photos above and also see this.

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