Happy Tu B'Shevat!!
Today is the new year for trees. G-d determines which trees will bear fruit and will see another year.
The custom in some Jewish communities is to celebrate this day by eating various fruits, especially the fruits of Israel. From pomegranates to apples, to walnuts and almonds (Nuts are fruits!), we pray for the health and good future of all trees.
Man is known to be a "tree in the field." In Nechama Sarah G. Nadborny's book, Twelve Dimensions of Israel, she writes beautifully how our roots are our foundations. The more solid our roots, the greater is our ability to grow. And the more we meditate on our forefathers and mothers, the more rooted in life we are.
The trunk of our tree represents our individuality. And the taller we stand, the better we can recieve sunlight. Standing tall is knowing that the Almighty G-d IS our true root. Is doesn't mean arrogance. Our Sages write that everyone should have two notes in each pocket. On one note it's written: The whole world was created for me. On the other: I am nothing.
Our inherent greatness is not for self-aggrandizement but in order to channel our gifts in order to help others.
Our branches are our connections to others. Do our branches help us remain centered? Are we flexible in our relationships?
On that note, are our relationships healthy even? Are we emitting positive light to others? Or are we negative? Do we use our words to connect with others to build and support, or do we patronize, belittle, invalidate?
A healthy tree bears fruits. Yes physical and spiritual children.(Please G-d, they should all be healthy!) Our fruits include good deeds, postive thoughts and speech, and actualizing our visions. Bearing fruit means being proactive. There is a dangerous pull to remain "asleep." To remain unaware. To let our sparks of creativity fizz out. To blindly accept what others tell us w/o checking and basically letting others think for us. We are striving to bear our own fruits, and if we are asleep, ain't nobody goin' bear'em for us! There is a reason the Almighty created us. Each one of us has a purpose that noone else has. The world is only complete when we use our roots to shine our unique light.
When I see strong, tall trees reaching way up into the skies, I wonder what stories they would recount if they could. They have seen births and deaths. Exiles and redemptions. Their rough bark have weathered all sorts of storms. Oh, if I could draw from their sap and glean wisdom!! I imagine standing small amongst them, shouting my question so they can hear me from their immense heights. They would slowly turn towards me, leaves rustling. They would exchange knowing glances and chuckle a deep chuckle. The eldest ? would bend slightly towards me and whisper,
"There may be seasons of darkness and bareness, but do not be afraid. Know! You do not need to wait. Your light is already come, and your leaves will bud and flourish, plush and green."
Plush and green.
As we are.