So many years have passed since I last sat with my beloved grandmother Mrs. Irene Klass.
It’s not by coincidence the families into which we are born. We are all fruits of different types of trees, and these trees make up all the forests and orchards of the world.
When Hashem created the world, it consisted of water. The upper waters and the lower waters. And Hashem saw that the world cannot exist on water alone. And on the third day of creation G-d created the land with all it entails; the earth, the flowers, the grass, and all the trees.
There are so many parables written about the trees that compare us, and give us strength to go on. It is written in the Torah that man is the tree of the field. A tree has so much symbolism and meaning for our lives. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov explains how important it is to sit in the fields amongst the trees and grass and listen to how they sing praise to the Almighty.
In the Talmud Bavli in Taanit, page 5:72, it’s written about the famous song regarding the question to the tree. Rabbi Yitzchak asked the tree how can he bless him when he is already so beautiful and full of fruit. And then Rabbi Yitzchak blessed the tree that his offspring should be as wonderful as he is.
Rabbi Yitzchak had left the land of Israel and went to Babylon and found a friend and a great scholar in Rav Nachman. He then wanted to bless Rav Nachman that his offspring should be just as wise and as learned as he. And indeed Rav Nachman was blessed with 3 great sons who carried on the torch and light of the Torah. They were Ravs Zutra, Rava and Ravin.
We all come from a special tree that belongs just to our family. Yes, all the trees together make up the forest, or the orchard. However, each tree in itself is special and one of a kind.
There are fruit-bearing trees and there are barren trees. Each one symbolizes the population of the world. Whether it’s in a physical sense or in a spiritual one.
Each person in the world comes from a certain tree made from his parents and of their parents and so forth. I know that I come from Avraham Avinu and Sara Emeinu. And from generation to generation my family tree was full of great men and woman who passed on the torch and light of the Torah to me and my children.
My beloved late grandmother, whom I loved so much, Mrs. Irene Klass, was truly a tree full of fruit. To begin with she loved to sing, and this song about the blessed tree, was one of her favorites.
That makes perfect sense. Her roots were soaked in Torah and light. She was constantly passing on her wisdom and generosity to her family and to just about everyone she met, just like a big tree can give shade, food and comfort to so many people. The fact that I am one of the fruits from that tree, gives me the ability to be just like her, filled with so much light and giving to others. It gives me the strength and desire to want my children to be just like that tree and my grandmother as well.
When a person thinks of another individual, they can picture him in a certain time and place. However, when a person pictures an object like a tree, it can be in any time period, shape or color. That is what makes the parables to a tree so great and encouraging. Because if I want to be like a certain person it might happen or it might be too overwhelming and out of reach. However, if I compare myself and who I come from, to a tree, my imagination can run as high and as vast as I please. And through those thoughts I can reach the sky. I can feel that I too can be like that great tree that I come from.
My grandmother was such an inspiration that it’s almost impossible to stand in her footsteps. Her wisdom and her charity, her insights to life and her kind and loving heart are things that are emulated and cherished by all of her descendants. How can we be just like her? How can we make sure that our tree bares fruit just like hers?
I feel that the mere fact that a person knows and realizes where he comes from and from which tree he was born, automatically gives us the strength, courage and honor to want to be just like the parents and grandparents we come from.
May her blessed memory live on within me and my children, and give me the ability to nurture and water my tree just as she nurtured hers.
When we connect to our roots, no storm or trouble can break us.
Thank you, Bubby, for your strong roots. I’m holding on in this world, despite all its storms, thanks to your hard work. May I make deep roots and fruits just as you did.