web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Not Of This World

            What is so special about Tu B’Shevat? Historically, nothing memorable occurred on this day. Why do we celebrate the New Year of the Trees?
 
Man is compared to a tree. “A righteous man will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar in the Lebanon he will grow tall. Planted in the house of Hashem, in the courtyards of our God they will flourish. They will still be fruitful in old age, vigorous and fresh they will be, to declare that God is just, my Rock in Whom there is no wrong” (Psalm 92).
 
Why is a man compared to a tree? What is unique about a tree?
 
Let’s look at what the Book of Our Heritage has to say about Tu B’Shevat. “On this day the strength of the soil of Eretz Yisrael is renewed and it begins to yield its produce and demonstrate its inherent goodness . The day on which the soil of Eretz Yisrael receives renewed strength to give forth its bounty is a day of rejoicing for the people of Israel, who till the land, who love it and who yearn for it” (Vol. 1, p. 331).
 
The soil of Eretz Yisrael is renewed, and what happens? Its strength and blessing flow into the roots of the trees, and they travel upward, through the trunk, into the branches and then out to the tips of the twigs, where the buds lie dormant. And then the buds begin to awaken.
 
            Suddenly, leaves appear, at first small, but then they unfold, revealing a symphony of fresh green color that fills the heart of every sensitive person with joy. The fields and hillsides glow with all shades of pure green, and then, from the buds on each twig, magnificent blossoms burst forth in a rainbow of colors that is infinitely beyond the capacity of an earthly artist to create.
 
            This is the miracle of spring. This is what gives us all new life every year and is part of the strength behind the saying “When Adar comes (in a few weeks!) simcha is increased.”
 
But I’m not sure we answered our questions: What is unique about a tree? And why is man compared to a tree?
 
Did you notice something strange? Since when do things flow upward in this world?
 
When we eat, the food flows downward. When we drink, the liquid flows downward. That is the force of gravity; that is the way of world – the material world.
 
But it is not the way of the spiritual world.
 
The Children of Israel are unique. We are above nature.
 
When God revealed Himself to our father Abraham at the bris bain habasarim, “He took him outside” (Genesis 15:5), which, says Rashi, means God took Abraham “out of the space of the world.”
 
The Children of Israel are beyond nature. We are not affected by the “logic” by which the rest of the world lives. We survive as a result of the constant shepherding of the King of Kings, Who takes us by the hand, and, if necessary, splits the sea to save us.
 
Our entire journey through history is guided directly by Our Father in Heaven, “Who [we say in the Shemoneh Esrei prayer] “recalls the kindnesses of the patriarchs and brings a Redeemer to their children’s children, for the sake of His Name, with love.”
 
For the children of Israel, the blessings flow upward. They begin with the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, our roots, and they flow upward into the branches and outward into the leaves and blossoms at the very outer edge of the Tree of Life. It is nurtured through its roots and the sap flows upward.
 
Thus, unlike the material world, we have eternal existence. For the rest of the world, the sustenance flows downward, but we know (Deuteronomy 8:3) that “not by bread alone does man live, but rather by everything that emanates from the mouth of God.
 
The Word of God flows upward not only from our ancestors into our generation, but from us upward to the Eternal Realms.
 
And thus a man is compared to a tree.
 
“A righteous man will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar in the Lebanon he will grow tall. Planted in the house of Hashem, in the courtyards of our God they will flourish. They will still be fruitful in old age, vigorous and fresh they will be, to declare that God is just, my Rock in Whom there is no wrong” (Psalm 92).
 

May our Tree of Life flourish, and may we all attach ourselves to it with everlasting strength. May we soon see the explosion of blossoms in a rainbow of colors, and the ripening of delicious fruits. May we all see the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 8:8-10:

 

For Hashem, your God, is bringing you to a good Land: a Land with streams of water, of springs and underground water coming forth in valley and mountain, a Land of wheat, barley, grape, fig and pomegranate, a Land of oil-olives and date-honey, a Land where you will eat bread without poverty – you will lack nothing there; a Land whose stones are iron and from whose mountains you will mine copper. You will eat and you will be satisfied and bless Hashem your God for the good Land that He gave you.

 

May we see it soon in our days.

 

 

Roy Neuberger’s latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim), is available at Jewish bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and online at Amazon.com. Roy can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com.

About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim) is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Russian, and Georgian. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, and Georgian) and “Worldstorm.” Roy and Leah Neuberger speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Not Of This World”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colin H. Kahl, VP Joe Biden's new national security adviser.
Biden’s New NSA Chief Mocked Israeli Nuke Fears
Latest Indepth Stories

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that may pose a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world. Learn about their rise to power and the toll they’ve taken thus far.

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

A., a teacher: “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll.”

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

More Articles from Roy S. Neuberger

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

Our rabbis told us it’s going to be very difficult before Mashiach comes. Should we fool ourselves?

The unwarranted hatred among us that caused the destruction of the Second Temple clearly still plagues us.

At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.

“Logically” speaking, after the millennia of hatred and destruction directed against us, there should not be one Jew in the world today who still keeps the Torah.

They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.

Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.

At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.

So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.

What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/not-of-this-world/2010/01/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: