Yesterday was the Jewish holiday of Tu B’shvat – the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat – also known as the New Year of the trees. On this day, Jews around the world and especially in the land of Israel give thanks for the gift of trees. Today is the “Jewish Arbor Day,” a day when we realize the importance of these magnificent plants that sustain us all.
Trees grow with their leaves spreading to the heavens – giving us oxygen to breathe, wood with which to build, fruit to build up our bodies and beauty to sustain our souls.
We live in and among them and there are many lessons we can learn from their magnificent beauty.
We can measure their growth against the sky, but it is what we do NOT see that truly should inspire us: the miraculous anchors that hold them firm: the roots planted in stabilizing soil – that keep them strong as they battle against the stormy winds of change and the seasonal upheaval that threatens their survival.
Trees are home to a multitude of God’s creatures: all have a place among their branches; all are welcome to find a home in the cocoon of their canopies. It is only when the balance of nature is upended and one organism becomes dominant that they become weakened by parasitic pests that strip them of their bark and feed on their foliage.
God – help us to learn from their majestic beauty – as well as from their fragility. As these legislators work to better our society may they come to value the deep roots implanted within our society: roots of tolerance and trust; of mutual respect and an awareness of the call to both compassion and compromise.
May they continue to hold sacred the diversity of our state and our nation and hold fast against the rising tide of isolationism, hatred and ignorance that threatens to weaken the core values that keep us united and strong.
Help us to find You in the branches of government born out of a desire for dialogue, debate and the belief our national motto: E Pluribus Unum – from the many we are one.
And may we take time from our day – every day – to gaze up at the beauty of your creation- and in doing so – recognize just how fortunate we are to be here all together.