The Olives that Irked Me

On the way to Odeliya’s day care there is this one house that has a small grove of olive tree that hang over onto the path. As the olive harvest began back in Sept, the kids started to notice the olives ripening on the trees and I pointed out that soon the owners would harvest their olives and they can pickle them or press them into oil. (The local olive oil factory will actually press your olives for you!) But as the olives continued to ripen, and we started noticing more and more olives on the ground, I started to get annoyed.

It is a fact that this year’s olive harvest was particularly slim – olive oil prices here have gone up because of it, and here’s a family with enough olives for maybe 2-3 liters of oil and they’re letting it rot! They are going to go to the supermarket and buy bottles of olive oil and cans of pickles olives, instead of harvesting their bounty! And now there’s fewer bottles on the shelf for people like me that don’t have the privilege of having olive trees!

We talk about depletion and lack – there is no lack in the Universe! Hashem’s bounty is abundant! But we are lacking in our self-preservation, because we think that the things we use come from the store. We forget where the things we need really originate – and that’s in the Earth.

I remember one Sunday back in the US (when Sundays were a day off!) when Yoram was putting up shelves and needed more wood. So Netanel, then barely 3 years old, said, “So we need to go to Home Depot to get more!” I asked him, “Netanel, where does the wood come from?” and he answered, “Home Depot.” At which point we educated him on lumber and the process of turning trees into shelves. We watched videos online and looked at books, and now he knows that wood comes from trees.

I think we all need to take a step back and remember where the things we buy come from and the work that goes into putting it there. Before I buy something from the store, I ask myself if this is something that I could conceivably make on my own. And if the answer is yes, then I do.And I’ll leave that product on the shelf for someone who can’t conceivably make it on their own.

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