by Shlomo Yaffe
used with permission
Tu B’Shvat –the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat — is known as the “New Year for Trees.” Naturally this would be a time for trees to engage in soul-searching the 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 fruit 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 the spiritual leader of Congregation Agudas Achim of West Hartford, Connecticut.