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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

February 2, 2020- Jasmine

Inhale the scent of jasmine.

I am a plant person.

My husband and I collect plants like some people collect hats or jewelry or shoes.

Fuzzy plants, fragrant plants, old plants and baby plants.

Even in Massachusetts we have fig trees and bay trees, pomegranate trees and lemon verbena trees.

They unhappily crowd our back hall during the winter months while they impatiently wait for spring to arrive.

Others, maybe the lucky ones, find themselves greening up our dining room where they will get light and water for the winter months. In return for a warm and sunny room they get the inevitable scale insect problem which is only solved once it is brought outdoors in the spring.

Jasmine and mom.

On the Monday morning during the week of the shiva for mom, I sat in the dining room as the men prayed in the living room (more on that later). I sat on our old comfortable couch, siddur in hand, next to the jasmine tree. On the jasmine was one single blossom. The blossom was delicate and fragrant to smell. The single blossom lasted until the shiva was over at which point one other appeared. The only blossoms we have seen all winter.

A sign from mom. A breath of fresh air. The perfume of life for us who are left behind.

The smell of comfort.

M told me that jasmine has spiritual meanings.

Here is something that I found on poems of the Syrian Jews:

From Let Jasmine Rain Down

Song and Remembrance Among Syrian Jews

by Kay Kaufman Shelemay

I smell the jasmine and I ask others to do the same. Breathe in the scent. Inhale a bracha.

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