Renew It!

It’s a beautiful time of year, and I want to share some beautiful words with you.  We’ve just entered the spring, and along with the spring (Pesach) cleaning come some real nice things that we do during the first days of the Jewish month of Nissan.  We say the “tree-hugger’s” blessing (bircat ha’ilan), and we recite the Nasi, or “prince” of the day.  The blessing is said over the newly blooming trees that flower this month, and the nasi is recited in honor of the twelve tribes, each of whom played a part in the inauguration of the mobile temple in the desert – the mishkan.  The tree blessing is to “thank God,” who “created a universe lacking nothing, in order to benefit and provide enjoyment to man.”  And during the recitation of the nasi, we mention all the nice materials that the tribes contributed to the building of the Temple.  But, I never understood the connection between these two events; saying the tree-blessing, and reciting the Nasi.  Here it is – they both occur during the spring.  And the word for spring in Hebrew is aviv.  Spelt in Hebrew, it begins with the word Av, meaning “father,” obviously an allusion to the One above, our Father in heaven.  It is then followed by the two letters yud-beit, which carry the gematria or numerical value of twelve.  So, obviously that is an allusion to the twelve tribes.  So, there you have it – the spring season (aviv) connects the One above with the twelve tribes of Israel.  And why the blessing at this time?  Well, a tree is also an av – a “father.”  It symbolizes a tzaddik or righteous person, whose roots of faith reach deep into the earth, and whose branches represent the different paths of serving God, and whose leaves provide shade or protection, and whose fruit provides provide nourishment.  So, the tree is also an av, a “father” to all of us.  In conclusion then, this particular period of springtime is all about making a connection.  We do it through the Av – the One above and also alluding to the tzaddik, and we do it through the twelve tribes, each of whom provide a separate path of spiritual approach to God.  The spring time, and especially Pesach, is the time to renew our connection!

For more on the subject, and especially on how to connect through Jewish prayer and meditation, go to our site at www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly  And if that’s not enough and you want to delve deeper into Jewish meditation and prayer, try www.jewishspiritualbooks.com  Finally, for a taste of daily Jerusalem spiritual life, check out www.chabadjerusalem.org  And have a happy and kosher Pesach!

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