By Rabbi Faivish Mordechai Dalfin
Chabad Rabbi in North Bay Village Florida
We study in the Talmud that the fifteenth day of Shvat is the Rosh Hashana for trees.
We need to analyze the function of the trees. The Torah says that “Man is like a tree,” the tree has roots, branches, and fruits. Each one of these three components represents the impact of a Jew in this world. The roots symbolize the Neshama, the G-dly soul. The branches are similar to the body, and the fruits are akin to our Mitzvot and good deeds.
Just as the trees need nurturing, our bodies and souls also require much attention. Torah is called Eitz Chaim, the living tree. Our focus must be on Torah. Learning Torah every day is critical to our existence. The teachings of the Torah humble us and make us sensitive to each other. In our society there are so many people unhappy and breaking up relationships in families and partners. Many times we are very quick to pass judgment on people we love and don’t realize how the venom of hate and destruction is quietly penetrating our midst. Sometimes we meet people who go to Shul very often, but they act much different outside of the Shul environment. It is very embarrassing when a person realizes how irresponsible they act, not in accordance to the standard of Torah values. We must bring the wonderful feelings we have in G-d’s house into our daily activities. Torah is the manual to be happy and have a peaceful life.
The roots are the foundation of the tree. The Holy soul in us is our strength and connection to Almighty G-d. The trunk and branches, as I said before, are similar to our body. We must recognize that our body is a vessel to serve G-d. The Neshama was taken out of Gan Eden, heaven, to be clothed in our limited corporeal bodies to perform Mitzvot with our physical strength. Every day is a gift for us to be able to bring Hashem much Naches! Our temporary existence in this world is a reminder of the urgency we must invest in grabbing as many Mitzvot as possible.
The fruits are the pleasure we derive from serving G-d. We must always remember to include other people in our happiness. It is interesting to note that this holiday is 30 days before Purim. We need to prepare for the happiness of Purim. The Rambam writes in the laws of Purim, “There is no greater joy than bringing happiness to the hearts of the poor, orphans, widows and converts, by doing this, we are emulating G-d Himself, who sustains the broken people.” In our community, unfortunately, we have many people and families that are in this category and need our help today. We always remember to include our brothers and sisters in Israel who are suffering from poverty. We have lists of widows and orphans that need our push immediately. If you want to experience the greatest of joys, help your broken brethren and make a difference. By bringing happiness to these poor, orphaned and widowed, more joy will be bestowed upon you.
Wishing our community a blessed Tu B’shvat!