Blossoms and Blessings

April 30, 2024


My four-year-old son recently went with his nursery class on what appeared to be a typical school outing. But as I studied the WhatsApp pictures his teacher sent I realized it was far from ordinary. Instead of a routine visit to a local park, they ventured to the house next door to fulfill a special commandment. The Hebrew month of Nisan offers the unique chance to recite the Blessing of the Trees—a once-a-year tradition where one praises God for the beauty and fullness of His creation.

“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who left nothing lacking in His world, and created within it good creatures and good trees with which He gives pleasure to people.”

This blessing, known in Hebrew as Birkat Ha’ilanot (the Blessing of the Trees) is recited upon seeing blossoming fruit trees in the month of Nisan. It celebrates nature’s renewal and the nourishment these trees promise. Hidden within this blessing is a metaphor for human potential, reminiscent of the homiletic interpretation of Deuteronomy 20:19, which suggests man is akin to a tree in the field.

Yet, how can we reconcile the ideal vision of a world lacking nothing, described in this blessing, with the palpable suffering around us—tragic losses, severe illnesses, and global conflicts? What about the people who live in poverty and those who, as of this writing, remain in Hamas captivity? Can we honestly say that the world is not lacking?

Chana Weisberg, a Toronto-based author and lecturer, found an answer to this question as she observed her toddler who had blossomed significantly over the past year.

Weisberg likens the potential hidden within each of us to the unassuming buds on fruit trees, which hold within them the promise of future nourishment. Though they seem plain and insignificant, these buds contain the essence of life—potential that is imperceptible to the untrained eye but critical for survival. In a few weeks, those green buds will become juicy and luscious fruit.

“Is man like a tree in the field?” Weisberg suggests that just as a tree’s flower buds possess the potential for future fruit, each human being harbors the capacity to foster a world filled with peace, unity, and perfection. Our actions and insights have the power to cultivate a world that truly “lacks nothing,” a vision echoed in the words of the blessing.

Therefore, despite the challenges and apparent deficiencies we face, we are called to nurture the potential within and around us. Through collective efforts, we can unveil the inherent fullness of God’s creation. In Weisberg’s words, “Each of us holds the keys and the prospects to make our barren world bloom into a redemptive one. We need only have the eyes to see and discern what lies beneath the tiny bud of each of our positive actions, and have the courage to create a world that does not lack in anything.”

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Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

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