Blessing of the Trees in Nissan

 

Blossoming tree
Blessing of the blossoming trees in Nissan

Compiled and translated by Rav Rahmiel Drizin

The new month of Nissan begins this Tuesday, April 5th, and  with it our tradition to bless fruit trees 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.
For a List of Fruit Trees at locations throughout the US and Canada please use this link:FruitTreesUSA-Canada (http://www.misaskim.org/bracha.php?page=1)
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.

The Chida writes that one should especially concentrate when saying this beracha because it is mitakain(repairs) the neshamot that have been sent back to this world in the trees and plants, and one has the opportunity to ask for mercy on these souls at this time.

 

Based on  Kabbalah, R. Yerachmiel Tiles of www.kabbalahonline.org 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).   R. Abrahami writes 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 be come from the same place, from under the Throne of Glory of Gd.  They are interlinked beyond the physical limits of bldy, 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.
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 based on the 4 letters of Shem Havaya יְ-ה-וָ-ה The following Zohar indicates how Nissan is an opportune time to assist these wandering souls:
Balak, Volume 3, page 196B

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 ente. 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…”
It is recommended to say the following intention before reciting the blessing (Kaf HaHayyim 226:8)
For the sake of the unification of the Holy One, blessed is He, and His Shekhinah–with reverence and love and love and reverence–to unify the Name Yod and Heh with Vav and Heh in perfect unity, in the name of all Yisrael, and in the name of all nefeshes, ruachs and neshamahs which relate to the roots of our nefesh, our ruach, and our neshamah, and that which clothes them and those near to them that generally derive from the worlds of Atzilut/Emanation, Beriah/Creation, Yetzirah/Formation, and Asiya/Making.  We are hereby prepared and ready to fulfill the comandment of reciting the blessing which our Sages of blessed memory instituted over the seeing of blossoming trees. And may it rise before You, Hashem, our Gd and Gd of our ancestors, as if we had contemplated all the intentions that are appropriate to contemplate when reciting this blessing–as well as the secrets contained within it.  And may it be deemed worthy and acceptable and favorable before You this blessing to sift and to elevate through it all the holy sparks that are mixed in all the vegetation, and all the nefeshes, ruachs, and neshamahs  that are reincarnated within it.  And You Gd with your attribute of goodness and with Your great kindness illuminate for them with the light of Yourface and complete their sifiting and repair.  Bless them, purifythem, Your compassionate righteousness always grant them  [ בט’ר  צת’ג ].   And may it be Your will, Hashem, our Gd and Gd of our ancestors, that in the merit of this blessing that we are about to recite, may it be fulfilled for us the statement:

רְאֵה רֵיחַ בְּנִי, כְּרֵיחַ שָׂדֶה, אֲשֶׁר בֵּרְכוֹ יְהוָה. See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which Hashem has blessed.


And may we receive the influx of the 10 blessings as it is written:

וְיִתֶּן-לְךָ, הָאֱלֹהִים, מִטַּל הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּמִשְׁמַנֵּי הָאָרֶץ–וְרֹב דָּגָן, וְתִירֹשׁ. So Gd give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fat places of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine.
יַעַבְדוּךָ עַמִּים, וישתחו (וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ) לְךָ לְאֻמִּים–הֱוֵה גְבִיר לְאַחֶיךָ, וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְךָ בְּנֵי אִמֶּךָ; אֹרְרֶיךָ אָרוּר, וּמְבָרְכֶיךָ בָּרוּךְ. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be a ruler over your brothers, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be every one that curses you, and blessed be every one that blesses you.


וִיהִי, נֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ–    עָלֵינוּ:
וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ, כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ;    וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ, כּוֹנְנֵה
וּ.
And let the graciousness of the Lord our Gd be upon us; establish  also upon us the work of our hands; , the work of our hands establish


לְרָצוֹן אִמְרֵי-פִי, וְהֶגְיוֹן לִבִּי    לְפָנֶיךָ:
יְהוָה,    צוּרִי וְגֹאֲלִי.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You Hashem  my Rock, and my Redeemer


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:

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.


See the full version of the post here in PDF format

  3 comments for “Blessing of the Trees in Nissan

  1. Dave
    May 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Last day of Nissan you can also make blessing!
    30-th of Nissan is Rosh Chodesh and is still Nissan – last chance 🙂

  2. December 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you so much, Rav Rahmiel Hayyim, for clearly explaining in depth the Nissan blesSing on the trees.

    Two decades ago I learned from beloved Reb Dovid Zeller, z’l, the importance of these blesSings to redeem souls, for their tikun, in order to help elevate souls of departed, Ilui Neshamot. It is joy to me when I do this chesed each year. I have fruiting, fragrant trees in my garden that I tend for G*d.

    May you be continually blessed to share your translations and teachings,
    Joy

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