Ki Teitzei–Permeable boundaries

If you go into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in a container. If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.  (Deut 23:24-25)

This text is about boundaries and neighborliness.   Can I step on your lawn without stepping on your toes?  What should I give, and expect to receive, as a matter of common courtesy, before it becomes an imposition?  We have all been taken advantage of at some time or another.  Has the experience made us too wary?

Robert Frost once wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  Perhaps.  But only if those fences have doors, only if you can touch them, lean on them, talk over them, and retrieve the errant frisbee without a reprimand or a scowl.   Most people who come into our vineyards do not come with a container.  They just want a few grapes.

 

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