The Annual Mitzvah - Blessing Fruit Trees in the month of Nissan

The new month of Nissan begins this Shabbat, March 21st 2015, and with it our tradition to bless fruit trees that are in bloom. If you don't live in Eretz Yisrael which has blossoming trees, you can rely on HaRaV Ariel Bar-Tzaddok of www.koshertorah.com who holds that you can say the blessing on 2 fruit trees that grow in a conservatory.

chanoch adds: Please make sure you see two different trees that are in bloom. It is preferable to see to different species of trees in bloom. Can you answer the question as to why you need to see two trees?

According to the Ben Ish Hai, a kabbalist and leader of the Jewish community of Baghdad a century ago, seeing the blooming of the tree teaches us an important lesson. When we see how the tree, which during the winter was dry and withered and is now in full bloom, we are revitalized. When we watch the transformation of nature, we gain the courage and inspiration to lift out of our despair, and it reminds us that Gd has given us the tools to renew ourselves.

Based on Kabbalist, Rabbi Yerachmiel Tiles of www.kabbalahonline.org who writes that this blessing has special significance. According to the Arizal, when Jews make this blessing they are able to redeem souls who have been re-incarnated in the vegetal realm, making it possible for them to continue or complete their tikun (soul rectification). It should therefore, be said with intense concentration and kavanah (intention).

chanoch adds: This is similar to the teaching regatding chewing Challah at least 100 times on Shabbat during the months of Nissan Iyar Sivan and Tammuz, as these are the months which supports the movement of souls between the vegetable and the animal kingdoms. Remember not all months are equal.

Rabbi Abrahami write that reciting this blessing means doing a very great act of Hesed/kindness with the whole of Yisrael. For all of Yisrael are One. All our souls that were, are, and will become from the same place, from under the Throne of Glory of Gd. They are interlinked beyond the physical limits of body, time, and space as we know them. Just as the Neshamot of the departed can intercede on our behalf "upstairs" so should we help those souls who cannot be elevated without our help.

chanoch adds: Who knows - you might even owe/cleanse a tikkun relationship with the soul you are elevating.

Also, it is desirable to follow the blessing with a donation of three coins to tzedakah (charity), corresponding to the three soul levels of nefesh-ruach-neshama. The Ben Ish Hai recommends giving 4 coins for the elevation of the soul of one's departed parents. This is based on the 4 letters of Shem Havaya ה-וָ-ה-יְ The following Zohar indicates how Nissan is an opportune time to assist these wandering souls:

Balak, Volume 3, page 196B - citation is not from the Sulam Commentary

"And Balak...saw" (Bemidbar 22:1): Rabbi Elazar said, Certainly what Rabbi Hiya said it is a concealed matter. However, it is written: "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself" (Tehilim 84:4). Did King David then say this about a simple bird?

It is only as we were taught, how beloved are the souls to the Holy One, blessed be He. If you say all the souls in the world, it is not so. It is only the souls of the righteous whose dwellings are with Him. Their dwellings are above and their dwellings are below, as we were taught. "Even the sparrow has found a home" refers to the spirits of the just.

We were taught that there are three outer walls to the Garden of Eden. Between each one of them, many spirits and souls walk leisurely there and derive pleasure from the fragrance enjoyed by the righteous that are inside the Garden of Eden, although they themselves did not earn the merits to enter.

However, it is written of the enjoyable pleasure of the just that are inside: "Neither has the eye seen, that Gd beside You" (Yeshayah 64:3).

There are designated days during the year, which are the days of Nissan and Tishrei, when these spirits wander and visit the place they should. Even though there are lots of occasions when they wander, these days are marked and are visible on the outer walls of the Garden, each one individually in a depiction of chirping birds, regularly each morning.

That chirping is praise to the Holy One, blessed be He, and a prayer about the lives of the human beings in this world, because in these days, the children of Yisrael are busily involved in the precepts and commandments of the Master of the world.

Then, these birds appear to be chirping happily and they chirp and whisper praises and gratitudes and pray for the living of this world on the walls at the Garden of Eden. Rabbi Shimon said, Elazar, you certainly spoke well, since these spirits are definitely there. But what would you say "And the swallow (dror) a nest for herself"? He said, This is what I was taught: that refers to the holy soul that rises above and ascends to a hidden and stored area, where "neither has the eye seen, that Gd, beside You..."

Before the Blessing it is good to say the following Psalm (Ben Ish Hai, Orah Hayyim 12)):

ְּ

ת ִה ִּלים

Psalms Chapter 29

א ִמְזמֹור, ְל ָדִוד: ָהבּו ַליהָוה, ְּבֵני ֵאִלים; ָהבּו .ַליהָוה, ָּכבֹוד ָו ֹעז

1 A Psalm of David. Ascribe to Hashem, O ye sons of might, ascribe to Hashem glory and strength.

ב ָהבּו ַליהָוה, ְּכבֹוד ְׁשמֹו; ִה ְׁש ַּת ֲחוּו ַליהָוה, . ְּב ַה ְד ַרת- ֹק ֶד ׁש

2 Ascribe unto Hashem the glory due unto His name; worship Hashem in the beauty of holiness.

ג קֹול ְיהָוה, ַעל- ַה ָּמִים: . ֵאל- ַה ָּכבֹוד ִהְר ִעים; ְיהָוה, ַעל- ַמִים ַר ִּבים

3 The voice of Hashem is upon the waters; the Gd of glory thunders, even Hashem upon many waters.

.ד קֹול-ְיהָוה ַּב ֹּכ ַח; קֹול ְיהָוה, ֶּב ָה ָדר

4 The voice of Hashem is powerful; the voice of Hashem is full of majesty.

ה קֹול ְיהָוה, ֹׁש ֵבר ֲא ָרִזים; ַוְי ַׁש ֵּבר ְיהָוה, ֶאת-. ַא ְרֵזי ַהְּל ָבנֹון

5 The voice of Hashem breaks the cedars; Hashem breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

ו ַוַּיְר ִקיֵדם ְּכמֹו- ֵעֶגל; ְל ָבנֹון ְו ִׂש ְרֹין, ְּכמֹו ֶבן-.ְר ֵא ִמים

6 He makes them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild-ox.

.ז קֹול-ְיהָוה ֹח ֵצב; ַל ֲהבֹות ֵא ׁש

7 The voice of Hashem hews out flames of fire.

ח קֹול ְיהָוה, ָי ִחיל ִמ ְד ָּבר; ָי ִחיל ְיהָוה, ִמ ְד ַּבר. ָק ֵד ׁש

8 The voice of Hashem shakes the wilderness; Hashem shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

ט קֹול ְיהָוה, ְיחֹוֵלל ַאָּילֹות-- ַוֶּי ֱח ֹׂשף ְי ָערֹות:.ּו ְב ֵהיָכלֹו-- ֻּכּלֹו, ֹא ֵמר ָּכבֹוד

9 The voice of Hashem makes the hinds to calve, and strips the forests bare; and in His temple all say: 'Glory.'

.י ְיהָוה, ַל ַּמ ּבּול ָי ָׁשב; ַוֵּי ֶׁשב ְיהָוה, ֶמֶל ְך ְלעֹוָלם

10 Hashem sat enthroned at the flood; Hashem sits as King for ever.

יא ְיהָוה-- ֹעז, ְל ַע ּמֹו ִי ֵּתן; ְיהָוה, ְי ָב ֵר ְך ֶאת- ַע ּמֹו . ַב ָּׁשלֹום

11 Hashem will give strength unto His people; Hashem will bless his people with peace.

We are told that upon seeing fruit trees in bloom during the spring, we may say this blessing (only once per year) with joy and concentration: chanoch adds at least 2 fruit trees in bloom.

ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם שלא חיסר בעולמו כלום וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובות ליהנות בהם בני אדם

Blessed are You, Hashem, our Gd, King of the universe, for nothing is lacking in His universe, and He created in it good creatures and good trees, to cause mankind pleasure with them.

Transliterated, the blessing is:

Baruch Ata Ado-nay Elo-heinu Melech Ha-Olam she-lo chisar b'olamo davar, u-vara vo beriyot tovot v'ilanot tovim, l'hanot bahem b'nei adam.