As I sit at home writing this, from time to time I look out the window in front of me and see the two citrus trees in the garden – full of lemons, full of juice, full of vitamins.
Next to them is a 25-year-old olive tree, full of olives from which pure, nourishing and healing oil is made.
It’s raining hard outside. It’s finally winter. But make no mistake. In Israel, even on rainy days, the sun’s rays always manage to find their way through the clouds, to shine through the water droplets and turn them into diamonds.
That’s how nature is – wonderful, constantly surprising, never boring. Observing nature gives me feelings of awe and belonging. It strengthens my connection with God the Creator.
Being in nature always causes me to reflect on life and the processes of life. Indeed, by examining the trees’ annual cycle, one can see a parallel to the processes that a person goes through during life – both physical and spiritual.
In nature, trees shed what’s on them every year and remain naked. And it happens precisely during the coldest days of the year. The tree’s clothing falls off. The leaves fly with the wind to the ground. The tree sheds everything that is unnecessary at the moment.
It doesn’t do this for nothing. In order to renew itself and produce new, good, fresh and tasty fruits – it has to go through this process of simplification. And precisely the hard days of the cold in which it stands naked, temper the tree and strengthen its roots and branches so that when the time comes it can reach its full potential.
The Bible says “because man is as the tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19). Both man and tree grow and take root in the earth.
Like the tree, man is planted and produces seeds and fruits.
Like the tree, man also goes through difficult periods feeling cold and alone in life.
Like the tree, these difficult times – Autumn, Winter, cold and loneliness – help a person to take stock of his life and shed that which does not benefit him any longer. Thus a person can empty himself, in order to then be renewed for the times ahead. Meeting these challenges forges strength and creates deeper and healthier roots. Just like a tree.
Tu B’Shvat is an Israeli holiday for tree saplings. It falls in late winter, just before the very first blooms of Springtime appear here. As someone who was born in February, this holiday has special significance for me. It is a grand celebration as far as I am concerned. Of all the richness of nature – for example fruits, vegetables and olive oil. And of all the things from nature that are right and healthy for our bodies.
In Genesis when God created the world He gave man a wonderful gift:
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree bearing fruit, yielding seed. It shall be for you.”
Eat and enjoy the fruit of the trees. If our stay in Eden had not been spoiled, it is very possible that this would still be the main food we would be eating today. And that’s why for me Tu B’Shvat is a day of remembering life in the Garden of Eden as God intended from the beginning.
Here’s to Garden-of-Eden life restored.
So enjoy the produce of the earth, and connect with being an inseparable part of God’s entire Creation.
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.