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Have you heard about the blessing for the trees?

ברכת האילנות

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Have you heard about Birkat Ha’ilanot, the blessing for the trees? We recited it yesterday in Jerusalem and anyone can recite it anywhere until the end of the month of Nissan. The blessing should be said opposite two blossoming fruit trees of different kinds that, ideally, are adjacent to one another.

Rabbi Itamar Haykin went outside with his students to recite this blessing and returned with the following valuable insight:

“There is clinical death and psychological death. In the second case, it is as if certain people are dead while they are still alive.

This happens when an individual loses their sensitivity and enthusiasm for life, no longer seeing the beauty of nature or experiencing the magic of life.

Our sages say: ’An evil person, while alive, is considered dead. Why is this so? When he sees the sun rising he does not bless, and when he sees the sun setting he does not bless. But the righteous ones make blessings over everything.’

According to our sages, not to say blessings is not a sign of apathy, but of evil! It’s evil toward oneself, toward a life being wasted when the rising and the setting of the sun go unnoticed. This is death from lack of gratitude, from an inability to see and to appreciate God for his goodness and kindness.

In the month of Nissan, just once a year, and only in the spring, we go out to recite a blessing for the trees. This is an opportunity to stop for moment, set aside the pressures of work, study, or any other stressful activity. To go outside into nature or even onto a small all patch of ground where two trees are planted, to gaze at them for a moment, and to bless:

“Blessed are thou O lord, our God, King of the universe, who lacks for nothing in His world, and created good creatures and trees for people to enjoy.”

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁלֹּא חִסֵּר בָּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם, וּבָרָא בּוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת לֵיהָנוֹת בָּהֶן בְּנֵי אָדָם.

So beautiful and so simple. Afterwards if you’re asked what you’ve done today you’ll be able to say: today I actually said Birkat Ha’ilanot. Today, I took a break from my busy day and I remembered to stop and look.”


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