“The farm is our second home,” David tells us, while repairing the gate to the sheep pen that had became dislodged because of the strong winds often blowing on the farm on the hills. “In every program I was placed, I didn’t adjust. I was kicked out of yeshiva and didn’t fit in to a new school. I started roaming around bored and idle and felt like a failure. But at that point Rabbi Zer asked me to come to learn and work at the farm. Here, I really feel alive. I tend to the animals and feel needed. I’ve even managed to make up the lessons that I missed by participating in a special study program here”.
“I noticed”, elaborated Rabbi Zer, “that more and more excellent boys from good homes are finding themselves on the streets, doing stupid things and behaving in a manner that could easily lead them down a slippery slope to delinquent behavior and crime.” This was tremendous hashgacha pratit for Zer who was in need of as many helping hands as possible. “I proposed to some of these boys that they come and work for me on the farm. The offer appealed to them and they started coming and fell in love with the place. I make sure to pay them for their work, which gives them a sense of commitment towards the farm and provides them with feelings of success and self-worth.”
The boys arrive at the farm every day, work in the fields and orchards, grow and sell organic vegetables and are also in charge of leading groups of visitors on a tour of the farm and hosting farm-related events.
“They are treated as equals, they feel useful, and because they are productive and creative, they are slowly regaining confidence in themselves and in society”, attests Rabbi Zer with a smile of genuine satisfaction and joy. “We named the program Siach Hasadeh (conversations of the field) because in the fields, conversations are different, there are no distractions, no detrimental influences, no barriers, and no need to pretend. Just like nature itself, in the fields everything flows easily, and here, the chevra (group of boys) open up to us and each other and ties and connections are forged.”
Koby, another participant in the Siach program adds, “What this farm has to offer is real geulah (redemption), Eretz Yisrael is being redeemed, the special mitzvot are also being redeemed by being performed once again and we merit that the public at large can join us in this endeavor. We also merit a personal redemption for each and every one of us, because if it weren’t for the farm, I don’t know where I might have been right now”.
Megalalin zchut al yedai zakai– A merit is brought about by an entity that is worthy- Rabbi Zer humbly claims. “The truth is that I hadn’t planned that the farm would become what it is today, but I am glad that it has.”
Rabbi Ronen invites all of Am Yisrael to become a partner in the performance of these special and important mitzvot, on to the land of our forefathers, and in addition, support an educational endeavor that is genuinely saving souls and planting seeds in more ways than one. Although not every person in the entire nation of Israel can share 4 dunams (roughly 4000 square meters) – though they might merit the miracle of expansion experienced in Beit Hamikdash – only 400 people have availed themselves of this unique opportunity and Rabbi Zer says that they can accommodate 10,000 partners.
Participation in 25 mitzvahs are yours for the taking and sowing and planting and reaping. For $90 a year, a shtar kinyan can be obtained through Machon HaTorah VeHa’Aretz in Ashkelon.
And when Mashiach comes we’ll all be ready to bring our offerings of Reishit Ha’Aretz in the Beit HaMikdash.