A few weeks ago, my father, a Chabad rabbi in the state of New Hampshire, texted me an image.

He had gone to visit a close friend who owns 200 acres of land in a small secluded town—a man who is ill and facing the reality of mortality. As they discussed matters of great meaning and what happens when you find your days seem to be more numbered, the man led my father on a walk on his property to show him a tree.

This land isHe is ill and facing the reality of mortality covered in thousands of trees. Acres and acres of sweet-smelling pines, velvet-green moss and tall strong oaks. The trees and the land around it provide home and shelter to animals as large as deer and moose, and as small as squirrels and chipmunks. It’s easy to lose yourself among all the trees that mirror each other, one after the other.

But the man pointed out one tree in particular. One tree that was special.

This tree had been condemned to death. Anyone with any knowledge about the natural way of trees would say it should have died. It had bent over completely, flat on the ground, looking death in the eye, closer than it had ever been to being just a pile of wood.

Yet it lived.

Through miraculous and unnatural means, the tree gave itself a second chance. Rather than lying there lifeless, a perfectly reasonable next step, it recognized that it still had roots and soared towards the heavens, strengthened again. Its roots were still strong and intact—nature and the world around it had beaten it down. It only had to remember the extent of its power to be able to stand straight and tall.

My father’s friend sat on the natural seat the tree had created with tears in his eyes.

He told my father that when he felt most despondent about his future, he came to this tree, sat with it, prayed near it, using its tremendous strength as a reminder of what can be.

He laid tefillin on his arm, prayer book in hand and turned his heart to G‑d. Together, the two of them prayed.

Gleaning strength from the seemingly eternal tree, they celebrated the eternal Torah. The sight brought a famous line from Proverbs to my father’s mind.

Eitz Chayim Hi, Limachazikim Bo: “It is a tree of life for those who grasp it.”

My father was so moved, he photographed the scene and texted it to me.

It took me some weeks to really internalize the message this picture was telling me. As anti-Semitism seemed to rise from the ground around me in a real and frightening way, that was when I realized exactly what this tree was trying to say.

This tree should have died. This tree nearly did die. There was nothing to prove that it would live on.

What makes this tree special? What makes this tree different than every tree around it?

The way it overcame all odds. The way it seemed like there was no other choice but death—yet it lived.

It lived. Not only did it live, it soared to the heavens, determined to live to its potential.

The Jewish nation has come under soul-crushing persecution time and time and time again.

The JewishNot only did it live, it soared to the heavens nation has met death head on.

How many times did it seem that enemies had accomplished their goal of ridding this earth of our people?

How many times have we been condemned for death, with no hope in sight?

How many times have we risen?

How many times have we grown from scratch and started again, soaring towards the heavens?

How many times?

This tree’s life is no coincidence. Providing immense comfort to the man who owns the land, it also has to ability to comfort us all.

In Deuteronomy we read: “Man is like a tree of the field.” Our roots are hidden beneath the ground, but without them we would be lifeless. Our roots are our foundation; our foundation is our Torah.

Eitz Chayim Chai. The Torah is our “Tree of Life.” It keeps us deeply rooted, and as a result, it allows us to soar.

This tree, lying on the ground, surrounded by thousands of healthy trees, had a choice. It could have given in to the natural pressures around it—the exhausting life that had taken its toll. It could have decided its roots were not enough.

But it made a different choice. It knew that rather than giving up on its roots, it could channel the power that still lived in those roots. And it did.

We are that tree.

No matter how many times we are pushed to the ground, we leap back up again.

No matter how many times our branches are cut, we grow new ones ... longer ones, stronger ones.

Nothing about the way this tree grows makes sense.

Nothing about the way that we get back up again makes sense.

Our G‑d is eternal.

Our Torah is eternal.

Our people are eternal.