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A Tree's New Year Resolution

A Tree's New Year Resolution


Tu B'Shevat — the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat — is known as the "New Year for Trees." Naturally this would be a time for trees to engage in soul-searching — the same way people do on Rosh Hashanah. Here is a tree's New Year Checklist:

Did I shelter the seedlings that live in my shade — so they will grow up to be a next generation like myself?

Did I grow towards the sun as a tree should, reaching up higher and higher towards that which I can never grasp, but which nurtures me all the same the more I strive towards it?

Did I make sure my roots remain firmly planted in the soil that nurtures them, and did I drop my leaves there in the fall to give back life to that which sustains me?

Did I ensure that my fruits were sweet and nourished all that came to enjoy them? Did everyone walk away from me with a smile?

Did I bend gently in the wind, accepting what G‑d sends but never breaking or giving up hope?

Did I grow in strength and wisdom with each new ring this year?

Come to think of it, not a bad checklist for us humans either!

Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe is a frequent contributor of articles and media to, is Dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law in New York, N.Y., and Rabbi of Congregation B'nai Torah in Springfield. Mass. Rabbi Yaffe has lectured and led seminars throughout North America, as well as in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Vivienne February 11, 2017

Trees - Checklist Wow!
So profound what a great checklist to guide us through the year with a checklist like this; we should be on our way to living in Hashem’s light- in His ways, also another reason to appreciate the trees and all of nature.

Howard Wright Jacksonville,alabama February 4, 2015

A better love for trees I have many oak trees in my back yard. After reading this, I have more love for those trees and the shade that they provide for me in the summer months. I won't complain about the leaves that I have to clean up in the fall and spring, instead I hope that I can smile while cleaning the leaves, by thinking of the shade they provided in the summer. Thank You Reply

Anonymous NY February 4, 2015

How beautiful! Reply

Sandra D. Greenbaum February 1, 2013

TREES on Tu B'Shevat and in memory of my mother i would like to share this poem, which was her favorite that she would read to me at bedtime:

"TREES" (Poem) by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earths sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain,

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

by Joyce Kilmer Reply

Catherine Cronin new york January 26, 2013

fruit trees I have a few acres of land. On them we have dozens of blueberries raspberries and blackberries, apple trees and pear trees and a fig tree. I love them all. Since this holiday has connected me with the inner meaning and connection to life I will have a much deeper perspective of the fruits (they and I) will produce. Thank you for this knowledge. Reply

Richard Cape Town, South Africa January 24, 2011

Trees Beautiful. If only we would "listen" to the trees Reply

Anonymous DEAL, United Kingdom January 21, 2011

TREES Yes, may we grow like trees, planted by the rivers of water flowing from delight in the Law of the Lord. Reply

Cyndy Boelens Dover Foxcroft, ME January 19, 2011

Trees I have often thought about how a tree must stand tall, in one place and deal with whatever life brings it. It does it with beauty and grace, without self pity or complaint. Would that we humans could lives our lives with the same strength and dignity. Your list was beautiful. We could do worse than aspire to live as you suggest a tree should. Reply

Eileen Sieff Stroup Butler, PA January 19, 2011

Trees As a Catholic daughter of a Jewish father, I read the Chabad newsletter regularly.
Thank you for such a beautiful article. I will pass it along to my friends of all faiths. Reply

Cindy Campbell Renton, Washington January 10, 2011

Trees Thank you for such an inspirational guideline on how to solidify ourselves while improving the world around us. Reply

Malka Helllinger North MIami Beach, florida January 22, 2008

tree magnet your list of a tree's New Year's resollutions would be a terific refrigerator magnet----no joke. It's a sweet, short, spiritual, and simple list of behaviors that we should be striving to attain on a daily basis. What better place than a refrigerator door to leave a daily reminder for everyone in the household. (e-mails and palmpilot reminders don't work on Shabbat, holidays, and for all of us who don't do so much technology stuff on a regular basis) And as we all know, a longer "to do" list isn't always as effective as a shorter one that includes only the essentials! Reply

talmidah USA January 28, 2007

TREES Being a "Tree" person, I love this. To all the trees that have nourshed me in all these ways and more, I dedicate this and will read it to the trees when one offers me shade, or fruit, or a wonderful branch to sit on and swing in the wind.... to lie on the grass and watch the bird sing its song perched from your branch. Oh what a wonderful creation you are ... Reply

Anonymous August 8, 2006

your thoughts has really inspirated and opened many doors i never new existed! your insight has definitely changed the way i perceive things. Reply