Seventh year gardening

28 Tevet 5775 Hanoch Ne’eman, Jerusalem

Journal entries –

Shmitta gardening

The shmitta year is going pretty well in the gardens. Most of the customers are understanding, even those who are not fully mitzvot observant.

Today I finished working at a new customer, and went over to see how the project I am doing at the entrance garden at the women’s mikveh in Katamon is doing. I had not got by there in about a month, and since then we have had some stormy weather, rain and snow.

To my chagrin, when I opened the door to the garden, I saw that all five decorative savanna grass plants I had planted in planters were brown and looking dead. I had not expected that. I thought they were tough. I am not sure they are dead. We will have to wait a few weeks to see. Maybe the foliage just got zapped by the snow. When I saw them I thought – “I should have gone with some conventional rosemary plants. What is certain is certain.” I was trying to create the riverbed effect, to go with the fountain I intend to put in there. I can not replace these plants till next year. If I need to I can cut them out when they are dead and make some wood decorations, like pinwheels or wood flowers for the planters.

I could not help thinking of the gemara in Brachot, where it is recounted that Rabbi Yochanan would stand near the place where the women would immerse, and instruct them. The Rabbis asked him about this strange behavior, and he said, when they immerse and see me (he was very handsome), they have children as handsome as me. Without getting into the explanation of this gemara now, I just want to say that when I saw the plants, I thought, “Oh no, what kind of an influence might this have on the women coming to mikveh here!”

Oh well, we will deal with it.

Sign Laws

When I was browsing in the Hebrew University Law Library last week, I came across a volume from the time of the British Mandate, entitled Palestine Laws 1933. Leafing through, I came across a law called the Sign Law. You know I am very critical of current Jerusalem sign policy, so I was very interested to see what the laws were then. The salient point I want to share with you is that the maximum size allowed for a business sign was two and half square meters. That is plenty big, and we would do well to go back to that standard. Perhaps we can use that as a precedent in our effort to civilize our wild west bank city.





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