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Our sages teach us we can learn a lot from trees, in that they always grow.

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A tree is beautiful with the fruit it produces. Mitzvot & good deeds, are our fruit. (Photo: UJS.org.uk)

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Even though in Canada, the ground is frozen & we’re not planting fruit just yet, however in Israel, the Torah tells us that from the 15th day of Sh’vat, the ground begins to soften.   

The Mishna tells us of four “New Years.”  Two of them are Rosh Hashanah, on the 1st & 2nd days of Tishrei when we are judged by G-d, & then the Rosh Hashanah for Trees, Tu B’shvat, is the day when the destiny of every tree is also determined. This year the holiday begins next Wednesday at sundown, January 27. 

We celebrate by reciting a blessing & eating fruit, especially fruits that are associated with Israel, that Israel is praised for, that the Torah singles out: Grapes, olives, dates, figs and pomegranates.  If we are tasting a fruit for the first time this season, we recite the blessing Shehecheyanu, the blessing we say on a joyous occasion.  

Some even have the custom of making a festive “Seder,” making many blessings. 

The Torah tells us, “Man is like a tree of the field.” Our sages teach us that we are like trees in many ways & we can learn a lot from trees.  We learn from trees that they always grow. Even in the winter, their roots get new strength to grow more & to produce new fruit every year. So too should a human being be constantly growing. 

For Jews, Torah & Mitzvot are our roots & fruit. A healthy tree is always growing. A healthy Jew must also grow. How? Through studying Torah & performing mitzvot.  For a tree to be strong depends on its roots. The root of a Jew is his emuna, his faith.  

A tree is beautiful with the fruit it produces. Mitzvot & good deeds, are our fruit.    

It’s interesting that the Shabbat after Tu B’shvat is Shabbat Shira. The parsha contains the beautiful song at sea. The Jews were freed from the Egyptians & they crossed the Red Sea. G-d did many miracles. As the Jews went through dry land with walls of water standing on both sides, he made fruit trees with delicious fruit for them to partake of.  

The Talmud tells us that “in the merit of the righteous women, they were redeemed.” The women’s belief & trust in G-d was much greater than the men. 

It was a Jewish woman, Miriam, who took the initiative.  With courage, song & even tambourines, she led the women from a hopeless situation to freedom. So too we must know, as hopeless & chaotic the world now seems to be. Although we don’t see the fruit growing just yet on the trees in our Canadian winter, let us learn from Miriam, to be full of faith & optimism that better days are about to come.  

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The Talmud tells us a story of a man that was travelling through the desert, tired, thirsty, and hungry, when he saw a tree with luscious fruit & plenty of shade. Below, there was a spring of water.  He ate the fruit, drank the water & rested  in the shade.  When he began to leave, he turned to the tree and said: “Tree, O tree, what should I bless you with? 

“Should I bless you that your fruit be sweet? Your fruit is already sweet. 

“Should I bless you that your shade be plentiful? Your shade is plentiful. That a spring of water should run next to you? A spring of water runs next to you. 

“There is one thing with which I can bless you: May G-d bless you that all the trees planted from your seeds should be like you!” 

Fruit also represents pleasure, which is like Mitzvot. Let us add in more Mitzvot, which give pleasure & Nachas to G-d. May G-d bless us all of us, that we should have yiddishe nachas from our children, grandchildren & in good health. May we merit the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days!So as we celebrate this weekday Rosh Hashanah, Shana Tova! 

Rabbi Yirmi Cohen, Ohalei Yoseph Yitzchak Congregation 

To contact Rabbi Yirmi Cohen, he can be reached at [email protected]

Rabbi Yirmi Cohen attended the Eitz Chaim day school in Toronto and received his Rabbinic Ordination in 1993 by the Chief Rabbi of Kfar Chabad, Israel, Rabbi Ashkenazi. He has been a Life Insurance Broker & financial advisor since 1998 & is a part time Rabbi at the Ohalei Yoseph Yitzchak Congregation in Toronto since 2003.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

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We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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