A seed needs soil for it to grow. It also needs the gardener to till the soil. The human seed needs the mother’s womb for nurture. The future child’s growth depends on G-d’s blessing. The 3 life elements to life are: G-d, person and seed.
The first of our double Parshiot, Tazria, translates as a seed. We associate a seed with life and growth. We plant a seed in the ground expecting a plant, a tree, to grow. Is the plant or tree somehow latent within the seed?
Yet without the soil, the seed won’t grow. The feminine nature, and nurture, of the soil, evolves its genetic potential. Likewise, the nurturing environment of the womb allows the growth of the foetus.
The seed contains the genetic features of the tree or child. But its animating force is its soul. That life force flows through the ground, or, to enable growth.
And even then, the plant’s, or child’s, growth needs the tender concern and loving care of gardener and parent.
We provide the seed. We nurture the seed. But G-d is the life force, the soul giver. This is a threefold relationship, seed, person, and G-d. We have power over the seed, but G-d has power over us.
That is why we pray to G-d that the harvest will be successful, even though we do all that is necessary on our part. Also, we pray to G-d that our children grow spiritually straight and tall, even though we are their immediate nurturers.
Sow your seeds, but don’t assume that they will take hold. There is always a third Partner in the exercise.