The fruits of holiness: Tu Bshvat

The fruits of holiness: Tu Bshvat

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Tu Bshvat is the new year for trees. But why should trees have a New Year? There seems to be a comparison made between the tree and the human being by our sages: For a man is as the tree of a field. It transpires that this comparison goes much deeper. Like the tree we also have fruit to give, the fruit of our lives and of our labor. What type of fruit will we be giving out? Who will reap the benefit?

Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag, takes the comparison between the tree and the root to a much more detailed level. He also looks at the work a human being needs to work on himself by considering all the different work a farmer needs to do for his tree in order to enhance the harvest of fruit: composting, hoeing, pruning, removing stones, smoking out insects and worms. By looking at the meaning of these differrent actibvities we can see that they have their equivalent in our own spiritual work.

It transpires that Tu B’Shvat is not just a New Year for trees, it is a New Year of all of us as well.

The material for this podcast is taken from a letter Rabbi Baruch Shalom Halevi Ashlag wrote to his pupils on Tu B’shvat, 1957 Manchester.

The podcast is dedicated in loving memory and lilui nishmat Sara bat Yisrael Tzvi Halevi Kotler.

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The Tree as a symbol of Man

A pomegranate tree symbolizes good deeds
“For a Man is as a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy). The spiritual significance of the tree is celebrated at the New Year for trees, Tu B’Shvat. Here we learn that the processes the farmer does for the tree to increase its produce, are all equally applicable to us in our inner work.
From a letter written by Rabbi Baruch Ashlag to his pupils.

Listen (ten minutes)