“ For man is a tree of the field” -Deutoronomy 20:19
Tonight we are celebrating the New Year for Trees, Tu BShvat. As we learn from the intriguing verse above, man and tree are connected, and trees have valuable lessons to teach us all.
A tree itself is made up of different parts. There are the roots, the trunk, the branches, and the fruits that are produced. While the trunk, branches, and fruit are all integral to the makeup of trees, it is the roots that they are all most dependent upon.
The roots branch out under the ground, soak up the water, and carry up that water to the entire tree, thereby providing the necessary sustenance it needs to continue to flourish and spread, and bear fruit.
We too have roots that reach back to our forefathers and mothers. Being attached to these roots is of utmost importance, for in them our essential Divine heritage is contained. Each of us is connected to a rich tapestry of ancestors spanning between our ancient forefathers, mothers, and us.
It is in this unique and personal history that one can find their sustenance. A sustenance made up of deep pride and awe for the great acts and sacrifices of our ancestors to sanctify G-D and to continue to beget offspring generation after generation.
Plugging into our own specific lineage can infuse our descendants with that exceptional legacy. Just as a tree, when connected to its roots can produce luscious delectable fruit, which in turn can grow into many more trees.
Yet that is not all.
Another aspect of the roots, is that the deeper and stronger they are, the more tenaciously the tree can brace itself, unyielding against the forceful winds that attempt to wipe out all in their path.
Today's winds sometimes try to uproot a person from their history, ethics, morals, and values. An apple may fall far from a tree when it's this windy! Without knowing that we have something precious and strong to hold onto, it is easy to get swept away in that which is truly destructive for us. Deepening our connection to our roots gives us the priceless strength of our entire ancestry to draw on, enabling us to stand firm.
The curious thing about roots is that they are underground, hidden from sight. This however, does not in any way lessen their importance for roots are an absolutely indispensable part of a tree.
And indeed, it would be ignorant to suggest that there are trees with no roots, for otherwise it would not remain standing.
The same holds true for all of us. We all have our roots, our rich ancestry, even of we are in the dark about it.
“ There is no king that has not had a slave among his ancestors and no slave who has not had a king among his” -Helen Keller
Although our ancestry may be concealed from us, it is full of magnificent character and people of immense spiritual stature. We designed OneBefore Escape as an opportunity to explore a uniquely successful journey of finding the roots and family tree. It is an idea that resonates in the hearts and minds of all people and of all ages.
It is applicable to everyone, a journey that any can begin. Just as a tree's beauty is found in its numerous branches and plentiful fruit, we can find beauty in our own family trees by uncovering branch by branch of our vast and exceptional lineage.