Tree of life. A special blessing

March 19, 2021 in General

Since I was born and until I was ten years old, I lived in the neighborhood of Palermo in Buenos Aires. Three blocks away from our apartment was, and still is, the Botanic Garden.

I have fond memories of that park and even have some pictures of me as a child on the playground there.

In that park I saw and learned for the first time about a sun clock.   One of my most vivid memories is walking with my family. I was kicking terracotta clay stones until my parents told me they were going to report my behavior to my morah (teacher) and that made me stop.

There were many types of trees in the park, as expected, and also many cats wandered in the garden.

Well, enough with nostalgia! Let’s get to work.

The month of Nisan started and with it comes the opportunity for renewal. Spring is upon us and an atmosphere of freedom, blooming and hope is rising.

Nisan also brings a unique opportunity to recite a blessing that may not be familiar to many. It is Birkat Hailanot, the blessing for blossoming trees.

The Talmud in the tractate of Brachot, 33B tells: “Said Rav Yehuda: A person who goes out during the days of [the month of] Nisan and sees the blossom of [fruit] trees, recites [the following blessing]:

“Blessed are You Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, who did not allow anything to lack in His world and [who] created within it good creatures and good trees to give pleasure to mankind through them.””

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה” אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁלֹּא חִסֵּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם, וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת, לֵהָנוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם

This blessing is said on fruit bearing trees (not every tree bears fruits!) and ideally the blessing is recited during the month of Nisan. If it happens that a person did not see the trees blossoming until the next month, Iyar, it would still be permitted to say the blessing. It is clear to me that the recitation of this blessing has deep meaning. When we see good trees and they are flourishing, we can’t help but appreciate creation and its ongoing renewal.


Nature is not the only place where we experience the infinite power of God, but it’s often a jumping off point for many of us.  When we observe a tree flourishing, we can see ourselves, our potential and our continuity. The blessing for blossoming trees connects us again with the Creator in a unique and singular way.


The month of Nisan has begun and Passover will soon be here.  Just as the Botanic Garden in Palermo holds fond memories of my childhood, so too the Passover Seder is filled with memories of family and friends.


Nisan, with its Passover memories and blessing of the tress signals the beginning of spring, which we so yearn for in these pandemic times.  May this month bring us all the precious gift of an opportunity for renewal.