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The Tree

The Tree

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A man was travelling through the desert, hungry, thirsty and tired, when he came upon a tree bearing luscious fruit and affording plenty of shade, underneath which ran a spring of water. He ate of the fruit, drank of the water and rested beneath the shade.

When he was about to leave, he turned to the tree and said: “Tree, O tree, with what should I bless you?

“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 beneath you? A spring of water runs beneath you.

“There is one thing with which I can bless you: May it be G‑d’s will that all the trees planted from your seeds should be like you . . .”

Talmud, Taanit 5b
Image: detail from an illustration by Chassidic artist Michoel Muchnik.
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Discussion (31)
July 18, 2014
Room for more
A heart that recognizes when it has been blessed, cannot rest until it gives back a blessing in return.
Fresi
June 16, 2014
Equal access
The nature of life being what it is, we all don't have equal access to the Torah -- for any of a variety of reasons.

But we all do have equal access to God.

And anybody can be a mirror for the Divine countenance, a glimpse of which creates new worlds and people with divine faces.

Peace and love.
Peter Spiro
WA
June 15, 2014
Deeper meanings...
There are many ways this story can be viewed:
The trees can be an allegory for Rabbis - or an example of Rabbinic teaching - or the Seeds of the trees can be viewed as the talmadim/students of the Torah... The Torah is the (our) Tree of Life, each one of us who reads and studied Torah is like a seed, may we each grow to be "living Torah" - also the encounter of the man with the oasis of the tree in the desert is a subtle display of the love that G_d/Hashem has for the lonely who travel our world the Holy One (B"H) give relief to the wandering person, whether they are wander in their actual life journey, or in their spiritual essence... The Tree is a stable symbol in the world that seems like a desert... another view: the man is the benefactor his bracha/blessing is an action that enables the spreading of what is good... there are many wonderful levels of insight in this story... Be Well... Shavua Tov!
Rabbi HaYitom ben Yisrael
Eretz HaKodesh and Olam
June 15, 2014
Response to Zalmy
They imitation is the greatest of compliments, likewise is it "selfish" for a father to want his children to "be like him"? Furthermore, how "selfish" is it to actually show appreciation - the bracha of man who enjoyed the tree, was he so selfish, could he actually give anything to the tree? would you have had him build a wall and seclude the tree (so only he knew of it?) or was his bracha an actual multitude of brachot towards others? Your comment demonstrates a modern tendency to consider anything of benefit as "selfish." "If one is not for them self, how can they ever be for another?" - You know this phrase from R.Hillell; however do not confuse selfishness with self-centeredness. For "selfishness" is a natural instinct, it must be used to benefit others as well as yourself; yet "self-centeredness" puts the focus on 'only you' and that is an act of choice; Mishle says: "the enemy crouches at the door" and "a fool does not utilize what he has" Self is for others as it is for you. B"H
Rabbi HaYitom ben Yisrael
Eretz HaKodesh
March 18, 2014
who is the author of this story?
Anonymous
philippinrs
March 4, 2014
:) funny...
it was a selfish blessing - so that he and other men could enjoy better fruits...
Zalmy
Australia
January 23, 2013
The Tree
Trees re-appear even when cut down for paper etc. but I still don't like the idea of any tree being cut off in its prime. The Torah makes more sense than many versions of different religious books as it came direct from above through the Rabbi and hence I now believe that it should have stayed that way and glad this is explained in here right down to the Letters and Numbers which I am finding difficult to remember but will step by step put them in a book to absorb same and become part of it.
Anna Cortez
Scotland
January 23, 2013
Material for English class
as usual, your site is my inspiration for my English classes! Thank you
Judy Freedman
Neriya, the Shomron
December 26, 2012
The Tree - The Rabbis
What a lovely comment about the Rabbis being the Trees. I had never heard a Rabbi speak untiI came in here and I felt the presence of God speaking through him and right through myself. Since coming in here I found out only this year that my father and both grandparents were most possibly Jewish due to 'talking to G-d' and receiving a reply albeit many years after I'd asked when the 'time was right' - their names were Yosef and Anna and learning more. Much was kept secret from me over 40 years ago but not any more. I now subscribe a small amount each month to Chabad as there's so much in here. Thank-you.
Anna Cortez
Scotland
December 25, 2012
The trees are the rabbis. After seeing all the beauty hidden in their word we wish that every one provides us with such a wonderful words. I feel like a child in a garden listening to the rabbi playing in a violin such a charming music. Thanks Chabad for such beautifully blessed guides.
Anonymous
New York
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