The Torah and our tradition is compared to a tree of life, we are taught. A tree of life to those who hold tightly to our way of life, our laws, our religion. But more, in holding to our religion and our tradition, this tree of life ties us to this land and to this place and most importantly, to our God.
What can you learn from a tree? Silly question isn’t it. In beauty, they grow where they are planted, sustained from above and below. Trees offer sustenance and survive with seemingly so little. And finally, they are vulnerable and unable to defend themselves.
When you plant a tree, you are making a statement of love and dedication. Not only to the realities of today, but for the promise of tomorrow. For seventy years and for nearly four thousand before that, the Jewish people have been honoring a commitment to this land. We, like our trees, are sustained from Above and from the land below our feet. We have been planted and transplanted numerous times in more countries than we can count, and still, home was always here.
According to Wikipedia, there are over 240 million planted trees in Israel. More, we are one of only two countries in the world that entered the 21st century “with a net gain in the number of trees.” The article also mentions that there are an average of 1,000 forest fires registered each year, “half of them caused by arson, hostile actions and Arab or Palestinians terrorist attacks.”
In 2006, about 10,000 acres of planted forests were destroyed by rocket attacks from Lebanon, and this summer, so far at least 7,000 acres have been destroyed by Gazan kites and balloons attached to bombs and Molotov cocktails.
Our trees, like our land and our people, are under attack. Today, the Palestinians claim to have sent 250 balloons with Molotov cocktails attached to them. The wind is blowing gently off the sea…towards the east. These winds will carry the balloons to our cities and to our fields.
The tree of life…
There is one huge difference between the Jewish people and the trees of our land. We can defend ourselves, and we will. Already, Israeli companies have announced a new technology that will soon be deployed to stop the balloons and kites. So in the end, we will protect not just our people, not only our land, but even our trees.
It is a Tree of Life
It is a tree of life, to those who hold tightly to it