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:
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:
|וִיהִי, נֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ– עָלֵינוּ:
וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ, כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ; וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ, כּוֹנְנֵהוּ.
|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.
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