Tonight is a special Shabbat, it is also the birthday of Trees, Tu B Shvat, and what I love about every Jewish celebration, there is always a lesson. We love having guests, our children look forward to our Friday night dinners every week asking who is coming.
In our non stop world, turning it all off is important as well as connecting to the nature all around us.
When I feel old and tired, the only thing that rejuvenates me is nature.
I learned this story as an Iranian boy, and later found it in a Midrash. A very old man was planting a fig tree. He was asked if he really expected to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labor and he replied: “I was born into a world flourishing with ready pleasures. My ancestors planted for me, and I now I plant for my children…”
We are tied into all forms of creation, the circle of life.
A man was travelling through the desert, hungry, thirsty, tired, when he came upon a tree bearing luscious fruit with plenty of shade, underneath which ran a spring of water. He ate of the fruit, drank of the water and rested beneath the shade. As he was leaving, he turned to the tree and said: “Tree, O tree, with what should I bless you? Should I bless you that your fruit be sweet? Your fruit is already sweet. Should I bless you that your shade be plentiful? Your shade is plentiful. That a spring of water should run beneath you? A spring of water runs beneath you.
“There is one thing with which I can bless you: May it be God’s will that all the trees planted from your seeds should be like you . . .”
Teach your children to love nature, and they will respect all forms of life. Amen.