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  • Debbie Maier Jacknin

Tree of Life

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

This version of our Tree of Life stained glass mosaic was inspired by our trip to Israel in Feb/March 2014. While there, Larry and I went to Tzfat which is located on the top of one of Israel's mountains. To get there, we drove on a twisty, windy road arriving hungry and ready to get out of the car but the gps seemed to be taking us in circles.

Finally we stopped and saw a man who was with and his young son and we asked if they knew the location of our bed and breakfast. He said, "Yes, but said it is a little hard to find" and he offered to take us there. We walked up and down steps, around corners and through alleys.

Finally, he pointed to a blue door at the end of another long alley. He asked about our bags and showed us the best place to park but explained that with all the one way circular streets it would be best if he drove with us and he would show us the way. We walked back to our car and when we were almost there someone else asked him for directions and he sent his young son off to help another stranger while he came in our car with us.

He was aware of Larry's disability and offered to carry our bags. When we thanked him, he responded, "no, really it is my pleasure to help."

A stranger who saw two people in need and helped. Imagine this world if we all thought this way.

We were told Tzfat a spiritual and magical place and we agree. It is said that the first books of Kabbalah were written there. We had the privilege of studying with two artist/teachers. We learned that Kabbalah teaches a lot about giving and receiving.

Look closely at the Tree of Life mosaic and notice that there are two sides to the trunk representing giving and receiving. There are also 10 branches in the trunk representing 10 Sefirot. The theory in Kabbalah is that there are 10 creative forces that intervene between God and our world.

Larry has always been the type of person who likes to help others (give) especially as a father and husband. But sometimes he felt that people took advantage of him. Because of his disease, he has had to learn to receive help for simple tasks that many of us take for granted. Larry and I have found that this brings out the best in others as most people are more than happy to help. This has renewed his faith in mankind.

Look at the trunks of the tree and you will see a drop of red. This represents our selfish side. The tree shows that you need to be able to give and receive to be in balance. As you go higher on the tree you get closer to God.

We created this version for my daugther, Jacklyn. Larry and I each have two daugthers. His daugthers are taller than mine. We gave this tree roots as we have given our children, but then we have also given them wings to fly as represented by the two butterflies. Butterflies were also something loved by my grandmother so we placed them in the picture to honor her and our ancestors.

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