Ever Seen a Two Legged Tree??
by Rabbi Shlomo Borinstein
Rabbi Shlomo Borinstein learns in Yeshivas Torah Ore with his chavrusa HaRav Noach Orlowek. He is also a Rebbi in Yeshivas Toras Simcha. Rabbi Borinstein is a popular teacher in Sharfmans and he lives with his wife and family in the Ramot section of Yerushalayim.
As we usher in Chodesh Shevat we also look forward to one of the four Rosh Hashanas of our calendar year, Tu B’Shvat. The Torah almost seems to request from us to look into the matter of trees. In parshas Mishpatim Chazal learn that the Torah is comparing us to a tree. It seems like a strange comparison but with closer analyzes we can find many important similarities.
The Maharal points out that a tree is firmly grounded in this world but then sours upward as if to connect itself with the spiritual world above. So too we are grounded in this world for our physical bodies come from it. We are not called “adom” (which means we originated from the adama) for nothing. But at the same time, through our seichal, we are able to rise high above this lowly world and to connect with Hashem in the Heavens. But there’s much more.
Trees are full of color and often fruits and provide so much for so many. And even though they seem to lie dormant for long periods of time, and appear to be nothing except dry wood ready to be burnt, they always awaken and blossom and encourage life to continue. And as long as their roots are firmly implanted they have the ability to reproduce branches that might have broken in earlier days. They are the symbol of never giving up hope for inside of them is the potential to grow even stronger than they had reached before.
The Torah tells us that we are “trees” as well. Full of personality and good deeds we have so much to offer to those around us. We might seem to have our up and downs and perhaps even go through sad and depressing times but in the end we wake up with a new vitality and thirst for life. We can heal our wounds and move forward for we are the symbol of never giving up and our potential has no limits.
Trees are truly incredible creations but if we stop for a minute and think we will realize that we are also. With Rosh Hashana arriving in a couple of weeks let’s prepare ourselves for another good year.