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Tu Bishvat

GYE Corp. Monday, 06 February 2012
Tu Bishvat

In general in Israel, Tu Bishvat day dawns cold, wet and dreary. Sometimes there is snow. One thing is definite: spring is nowhere in sight.

Except for the almond tree. Every year, the almond tree is in bloom, with its delicate and fragile looking blossoms standing out in stark contrast to the harsh winter conditions. Sometimes the flowers are powdered with snow, often the strong winter winds have the trees battling to remain standing.

Yet somehow, those softest of blossoms manage to withstand everything, and continue clinging to the branches which are their lifeline.

I think that in so many ways, this under-appreciated chag has some of the deepest lessons to teach us.

The purpose of Tu B'Shvat is to celebrate renewal and hope. Sure there are still about 2 hard months ahead of us before the warmth of spring takes over. But Hashem is telling us something so important. Yes, all looks dark. The trees are bare, the grass seems dead and renewal seems impossible in this stark landscape. But focus on that almond tree. Its our symbol that despite what we see - darkness and despair - things are happening which we can not yet see. The seeds are long sown, and under the ground, far from our vision, they are starting to awaken and grow so that when the time is right, they will suddenly pop out from the ground and the world will be awash in a kaleidoscope of color!

Our problems - individual as well as national - have led us to the darkest part of galus, and total winter surrounds us. But the seeds of geulah are long sown, and in realms beyond our understanding, things are sprouting and growing. And when we least expect it, mashiach will arrive, heralding a new spring and new beginning.

We must all be those almond blossoms, holding on despite the raging winds and bitter cold. Because geulah is around the corner and we will be the very first to greet it!