The Tree Blessing and Self-Renewal

Question

Hi Rabbi, what is the idea and what is the text for the special blessing said in the spring when seeing blossoming fruit trees? Thanks.

, 6 months

Answers

  1. A noted rabbi of the previous generation wrote in a poem: “And a generation will yet arise and sing to beauty and to life.”

    This uplifting and inspiring message would seem to be quite appropriate to the warm feeling for nature and its Creator, that we perhaps feel intensely when the beauty of spring follows the cold and darkness of winter. We are to say a beautiful blessing – once a year – when the fruit trees begin to blossom in the springtime month of Nissan in the Jewish calendar.

    “Blessed are You, our God, King of the universe, Whose world lacks nothing, and Who made wondrous creations and beautiful trees for human beings to enjoy.”

    An astute observation about the wording of this blessing was made by the Ben Ish Chai, a kabbalist and leader of the Jewish community of Baghdad a century ago. Since the blessing is called “the blessing of trees,” he pondered why the text of blessing refers to “good creatures” as well as to “good trees?”

    He explained that seeing the tree blooming teaches us “good creatures” an important lesson. When we see how the trees went from being dry and withered in the winter to be in full bloom in the spring, we are revitalized. Watching this transformation in nature inspires us to act boldly and wisely to lift ourselves out from our despair. It is a reminder that God has given us the ways and means for our self-renewal.

    Despite what we are going through, financial struggles, relationship issues — or a global pandemic — we should take a lesson from the trees. They show us a renewal of life and a new beginning. God brings blossoms to barren trees and can certainly help us overcome our difficulties — eventually leading to a generation that will see a world that is always in full-bloom.

    Regarding the Jewish laws applicable to this blessing, especially when and where to say it, please consult with a local Orthodox rabbi – or feel free to check out the Gateway’s Ask the Rabbi service: www.asktherabbi.org

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team