Ken Rosenstein


The Tree of Hesed and Tif'eret: Tu Bi'Shevat

Beauty and compassion fall from the heavens like rain
Fructifying the Tree of Hesed Tif’eret which
Grows in the Garden.
The Tree bears fruit filled with sweetness as a
Pomegranate filled with seeds.
Forever blooming is the Tree planted by Adam and Eve
Their final act before leaving the Garden
For they were the first caretakers
Of Mother Earth and of humanity.

Throughout the generations the Tree of Hesed and Tif’eret
Of Compassion and Beauty
Gave of herself, offered her wood, her being
To Cain - the first farmer
Proffering fruit of the soil as sacrifice
To Noah - sole paterfamilias of an ecologically ravaged planet
Using her knotty skin for the water-bourne Ark
To Abraham - himself a mighty oak rooted in Hesed
Chopping her branches for Isaac’s pyre

Many such trees were planted wherever the Jews settled
Its fruit bore seeds that each generation
Lovingly cultivated in their adopted land
The first exiles planted the Tree in Babylon
Fertilizing the arid soil with their tears
From this holy earth the Hanging Gardens of Babylon sprouted
These are the towns of Sura and Pumbedita
Cradle of the Talmud.
And the last generation will plant
The Tree of Hesed and Tif’eret
Before the arrival of the Mashiah

There exists a Tree inside of each of us
We tap into the Tree as a farmer taps a Vermont
Maple in the winter extracting rich nectar.
When we are fully alive in
The World of the Body  The World of the Heart
The World of the Mind  The world of the Spirit
Then the Tree of Hesed and Tif’eret grows within us.

Each Torah stave is fashioned from this Tree
For the Torah is a Tree of Life, a Tree of Tif’eret
The Voice of the Turtledove is heard from its branches
Singing sweet words of Torah
And when we listen, really listen
As we did at Mt. Sinai
Then we and the Tree are as one.