Recently we celebrated Tu b’Shvat, the New Year of the Trees. Though at the outset, it seems quite irrelevant and meaningless, upon closer analysis, it is pertinent and purposeful.

“Man is the tree of the Field. ” (Deut. 20:19)

Just as the tree is only as strong as its roots, Man too can only grow and succeed when connected to his roots and ancestors. Though we choose sometimes to dismiss their importance, like a tree, we can never abandon our connection to our ancestors. Doing so, is tantamount to suicide.

As leaves shelter a tree’s fruit, man must implement boundaries, rules and regulations to protect his assets. We cannot expect our wisdom, emotions and children to be shielded from corruption if we aren’t careful about what we expose them to. Torah prohibits negative influences in our lives, much like the leaves shield and protect the precious fruits.

Once a seed is planted and nurtured, it is sure to produce fruit. Don’t ever be discouraged by the time it takes to produce the results. Grain grows quickly but needs to be planted anew each season. If it’s taking longer, it only means that the fruit being grown is of the quality of a tree, that will last for generations.

A tree firmly rooted in the earth, bears fruit that provides shelter and shade to passersby. Being careful to nurture the needs of ourselves and our loved ones automatically enables us to protect others as well. The world stops to watch a man who knows where he is going. A life filled with purpose inspires others to find purpose too.

Each year we read the episode of the G-dly revelation at Sinai, to engrave our roots within our hearts. When we recall and experience our spiritual roots at Sinai and we value and appreciate them, we are inspired to fulfill our deepest potential by growing fruits surrounded by luscious leaves and thus impact all that is around us too!

So take the time today to step outside (at least in Florida) and ponder a tree. Take a few moments to meditate on its exquisite beauty and how it holds the keys to your spiritual and emotional health!