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I Will Write It In Their Hearts - Volume 1
Letters from the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The significance of the New Year of Trees

Translated by: Rabbi Eli Touger

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  Efforts to popularize Mivtza Tefillin; outreach efforts among Jewish soldiersTable of contentsThe significance of the New Year of Trees  

No. 135

This letter was addressed to Mr. Bezbaradka, a supporter of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch.
B"H, Tuesday, 21 Shvat, 5704
Greetings and blessings,

You will find enclosed a receipt for your donation to strengthen the schools that are directed by Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch. On behalf of Merkos, I would like to offer you abundant thanks for your participation in the institution [involved in] the education of Jewish boys and girls in purity and holiness.

It is our strong hope that you will continue to participate in these efforts in the future and that you will endeavor to influence your colleagues and acquaintances to show interest in this [purpose] and aid Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, each one according to his capacities. Whenever a person motivates a colleague to perform a positive act, his colleague's merit is dependent on him.

Many [related] concepts can also be learned from the festival of this month, [Shvat 15,] the New Year of the Trees. A person who pays attention to everything that occurs around him can add to his wisdom from every matter that happens, [improving] his relations with G-d and with his colleagues. This does not apply only to exceptional matters. Instead, even commonplace matters like a tree which grows can provide directives for a person's daily life.

To point out several:

Most members of the plant kingdom, and trees in particular, are composites of many elements. In general, [their components] can be placed in three categories:

  1. the roots;

  2. the body of the tree (its trunk, branches, and leaves), and

  3. its fruit ([which contains] the peel, the fruit itself, and its seeds).

The difference between them [can be explained as follows]:

The roots are hidden from an observer's sight, but they are the medium which provide the fundamental vitality for the tree. (The leaves do, however, enable the tree to absorb certain components from the air which are necessary for their existence and they acquire the heat from the sun's rays.) Moreover, it is the roots which enable the trees to stand firmly. If a tree's roots are strong, there is no fear that the stormiest winds will uproot it.

The body of the tree - This represents the major portion of the tree's structure. From time to time, the thickness of the branches and the number of leaves increases; through this, and in particular, from the trunk of the tree, we can discern the tree's age.

The ultimate purpose of the tree, however, is the production of fruit, for from the seeds [in the fruit] can be planted new trees for generation after generation.

A man is "a tree of the field."[1] Thus there are certain particulars in which a person resembles a tree. This applies even with regard to his spiritual service. Here, too, there are three categories:

The roots - This corresponds to faith which connects a person the source of his vitality, the Creator, blessed be He. Although [the person] grows in the wisdom of the Torah and its mitzvos, his vitality is drawn down to him through his faith in G-d, His religion, and His Torah.

The trunk and body of the tree - This refers to the study of the Torah and the performance of the mitzvos and good deeds. These must constitute the majority of the structure and the largest quantity of a person's deeds and activities. Through the abundance of [his] mitzvos and his greatness in Torah, the years of a person's life can be recognized, i.e., a life full of content of wisdom and deed.

The fruit - A person's ultimate fulfillment comes when - in addition to fulfilling all of his individual responsibilities, he influences his colleagues and his surrounding environment, leading them toward fulfillment. His activities are "seeds" which sprout other trees (people) who have roots (the fundamentals of faith), a trunk and branches (Torah and good deeds), and which bear fruit (bring merit to others).

The lesson from the above: The source of a person and his root are pure faith. A weakness of faith endangers the maintenance of even a great person's spiritual life.

The majority of a person's structure must be the good deeds which continually increase from day to day.

The consummate perfection of a person, however, is bearing fruit, i.e., that he should influence others and enable them to merit to fulfill their mission and the purpose for their creation. In this manner, his efforts bear fruit and the fruit bears fruit, generation after generation. And all this merit is dependent on him.

With the blessing, "Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption,"

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee



  1. (Back to text) [Devarim 20:19.]

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