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15 Shevat -Rosh Hashanah of Trees By Rebbetzen B Horovitz


The 15th of Shevat

Rosh Hashanah of Trees

By Rebbetzen B Horovitz

This has reference to the different tithes which are brought each year, counting towards the seventh, shmittah year, (which will take place next year). The same applies to the conclusion of the orlah years.


Our Sages have designated the 15th of Shevat as the boundary between one year and another, since most of the rains of the previous year have already fallen. Any new growth of fruit after this day is a result of the blessings of the new year. On the 15th of Shevat also, the soil is already saturated with the rains of the previous winter, so that trees newly planted after the 15th of Shevat are assured of taking firm root and bringing forth fruit.


It is written in Koheles Rabbah 7:13 that the Holy One, Blessed be He, led Odom HaRishon through Gan Eden and said “I created all My beautiful and glorious works for your sake. Take heed not to damage or destroy My world, for if you damage it, there is no one to make it right   after you.”


There is a profound and important connection between the welfare of the world and trees. In fact, the Torah instructs us specifically not to cut down trees. As it is written, “When you shall besiege a city for a long time, in making war against it, you shall not destroy its trees by forcing an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down.” (Devorim 20:19)


Trees are an important indicator of how well man is taking care of the world. The unfortunate   results are there to be seen. As brought in Perek Shirah, the trees sing for the future. As it says, “Then shall the tree of the forest sing out at the presence of G-d, because He comes to judge the earth” (Divrei Hayamim II 15,33). ‘At the End of Days, it is written “a river will pour out from below the Beis HaMikdash.” It will have healing, purifying waters that will feed the wondrous trees on its’ banks. Trees that will be used for food and healing’ (Yechezkel, Ch 47). So that is why the trees sing then. Only then will they be able to thrive fully. The trees’ only hope is to hold out until the End of Days, when G-d will openly sort out matters. The Song of the Trees is an urgent plea for man to use the world properly.


In the month of Nissan we go out to find blossoming trees. We stand in front of this special creation — the frothy, deliciously scented blossoms and fresh green leaves beneath the blue sky. We say with gratitude and heartfelt praise:


“Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, for nothing is lacking in His universe, and He created in it good creatures and goodly trees wherewith to give delight to mankind”


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