WEEDS, WALLS, AND CONSTANT BIRTH
The most indomitable weed in Jerusalem is Judean pillory. In botanical lingo, a pillory is a plant that grows at the base of or in the cracks of a wall. Judean pillory (Parietaria judaica) is almost impossible to overcome once it sprouts in your garden. It can go from newly germinated seed to seed-bearing adult in two weeks. If you think you pulled it out but the tiniest remnant of shoot or root remains, it will grow back up stronger than ever.
Judean pilloryThis plant has Messianic implications. It hints at what the future holds when, as redemption comes to the nation of Israel, women will be continually pregnant and give birth every day. As the gemara says: Rabban Gamliel was once giving a lecture and, quoting from the prophets, stated that women will eventually have children every single day. “The women will conceive and bear children at the same time” (Jeremiah 31:7).” But “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclisiastes 1:9) a student protested. To which Rabban Gamliel replied that he could show the student something similar in our own world and brought him to a chicken (which lays eggs every day).
In my neighborhood, which is not very religious, every woman of a certain age is nearly always pregnant. It seems that a baby is being born every day.
The fact that Judean pillory grows next to a wall is also important. When Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and told him he had a short time to live, Hezekiah stood up and prayed facing a wall and lived for another 15 years. There appears to be something life-giving in a wall.
If you ever stood next to the Western Wall, and looked up, you will have noticed plants growing out of the cracks. Many of these plants are caper bushes (Capparis spinosa), also with Messianic implications. In the same lecture mentioned above, Rabban Gamliel said that when the Messiah comes, trees will bear fruit every day. The same student once again chimed in with “there is nothing new under the sun,” upon which Rabban Gamliel showed him a caper bush, which bears edible flowers and fruit every single day. Yes, those are the same comestible capers that you find pickled in a small jar at your grocery store. They grow wild in the Land of Israel, from the Western Wall to the Masada fortress near the Dead Sea.
caper flower and foliageThis is a land laden with meaning. Torah words are coming true before our eyes. The strands that connect every moment are woven together with proven prophecies and faith. Everywhere you go you see relentless building and constant birth.
How fortunate are we to be alive at this time and in this place!