There's a big difference between Yoram, a G-d fearing farmer from the Jezreel Valley who grows sunflowers, and between the other farmers in the area that also grow sunflowers. As much as a person loves farming and the outdoors, growing sunflowers is not the most intellectually-stimulating and interesting things that a person can do for a living. In fact, it can be back-breaking and pretty boring work if you're doing it just to scrape out a living.
But not Yoram! He's one of "Garinei Afula"s best contract growers. "Garinei Afula" are famous for selling the biggest and best sunflower seeds in Israel. It's an Israeli national pastime to munch away on sunflower seeds, especially on Shabbat with a Gemara and a cup of tea. Sunflower seed munching is the symbol of Israeli national unity, because it's the one thing that the secular and religious population hold in common - everybody in the country does it. Even when you go to a "Shalom Zachar" on Friday night (the custom of saying mazal tov to the father of a newborn son), three things must be on the table - hummus (whole chickpeas), popcorn and sunflower seeds.
So, if you ask Yoram what keeps him so excited about growing sunflowers after 40 years in the blazing sun of the Jezreel Valley, he'll say, "If I was working for myself, that would be one thing; I don't think I'd have the power to go with this at age 67. But it's all for the Boss - Hashem. I don't know of anyone - outside of Hashem - who can calculate how many millions and trillions of blessings have been made on my sunflower seeds in the last 40+ years since I've been growing them. Try and think how many people have sat together on Friday night enjoying each other and my seeds. Think how many pages of Gemara have been learned, because munching my seeds keep the Torah scholars from falling asleep on Friday night. Imagine how many Israeli soldiers have remained alert on their border watches by virtue of the fact that they have a bag full of seeds to munch on..."
Wow, imagine the place in Gan Eden that awaits a sunflower-seed farmer whose motivation has always been, "It's All for the Boss."
What's our motivation?
Join us today for our weekly shiur and broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled "It's All for the Boss," a shiur you don't want to miss. It will take place, G-d willing, in the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7PM Israel time (12 noon EST); the shiur is open to the public - both men and women are invited. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time. If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it later this coming week on Lazer Beams.