The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 


 
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Blessing from the first Tu Bish'vat Seder

From P'ri Ets Hadar – "The Fruit of the Majestic Tree", the first published Tu Bish'vat seder, c. 17th century. In this prayer the author equates Creation with the mishkan--the portable sanctuary that the Israelites carried through the desert, by invoking Exodus 36:18, the verse in Torah that describes the completion of the mishkan.

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Please God, who makes ha'oseh, and forms hayotser, and creates haborei, and emanates hama'atsil the higher worlds, and in whose form and pattern you created their model on the earth below—

You made all of them with wisdom, higher above and lower below, "to join [together] the tent to become one" (l'chaber et ha'ohel lihyot echad לחבר את האהל להיות אחד Exod. 36:18),

And You made trees and grasses bloom from the ground in the shape and pattern of what is above, to make known to the children of Adam the wisdom and discernment in them, to reach what is hidden;

And You drop upon them the flow and power of Your highest qualities (midotekha, i.e., the Sefirot) [as it says]: "And he made the harvest fruit" and "the fruit tree making fruit by its kind"; "and from the fruit of your works you will satisfy the land", "to eat from her fruits and to satisfy from her goodness"; "to give life through them to the soul of all life" (l'hachayot bahem nefesh kol chai)– [meaning] from the spiritual strength which is in them;

And from Your fruit will come the reward of the fruit of the belly [womb], to bring life and nourish the body, "and his fruit will be for eating and his leaves for healing";

And this moon [of Sh'vat] is the beginning of Your works [from now until Shavuot], to ripen [the fruit] and make her new [so that] "a person will bring his fruit" "making fruit by their kinds"; for thus the days of ripening for the higher tree will be fulfilled, "the tree of life in the midst of the garden," and he will make fruit above.

May it be willed from You, our God and God of our ancestors, that by the power of the merit of eating the fruit which we now eat and bless, and our meditating upon the secret of their roots above upon which they hang (depend), that You will make the flow of desire and blessing and free energy, shefa, flow over them, to return again to make them grow and bloom, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year, for good and for blessing, for good life and for peace.

And may You sustain the word which you promised us by the hands of Malachi your seer: "And for you I will cast out the one who eats away, and the fruit of the earth will not be destroyed for you, and no vine in the field will be barren for you, said YHVH of hosts."

"Look out from Your holy habitation (ma'on), from the heavens" and bless for us this year for good and for blessing, "let them drink blessings forever, let them celebrate in joy Your presence," "and [so] the earth will give her produce and the tree of the field his fruit"– may you bring upon them a blessing of goodness;

May the might and majesty of the blessings for eating the fruits become lights in the wellspring of blessings, the Righteous One [the Cosmic Tree], life of the worlds, and may the whole [Tree] return now to his original strength, and may the strength of his bow return, "for You are the one who will bless the Righteous One, YHVH, desire will crown him like a rampart"; and may we see the bow, joyful and beautified with his colors; and from there may the flow of desire and mercy flow over us, for pardoning and forgiving our sins and errors;

And may all the sparks scattered by our hands, or by the hands of our ancestors, or by the sin of the first human against the fruit of the tree, be returned [to be] included in the majestic might of the tree of life.

"Then the trees of the forest will sing out" and the tree of the field will raise a branch and make fruit, day by day; "And [then] you will take from the first of all the fruits of the ground [on Shavuot] to bring the first-fruit offering (bikurim) before the altar of YHVH" with praise and thanks.


Here's an abridged version of the prayer you can easily incorporate into your seder – just copy and paste:

O God, who makes, forms, creates, and emanates the highest worlds! You made the trees and grasses grow from the ground in the shape and pattern of these highest worlds. And this full moon is the beginning of Your work to renew and ripen the fruit trees, to bring forth the fruit of 'the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden'. May it be Your will that our eating and blessing and meditating on these fruits will strengthen the flow of love and blessing over the trees, to make them grow and bloom, for good life, for blessing and for peace. May all Creation return to its original strength, and may we see the rainbow rejoicing in its colors. And may all the sparks of divinity scattered by our hands, or by the hands of our ancestors, or by the sin of the first human against the fruit of the tree, be returned and included in the majestic might of the Tree of Life.

How to use this blessing

Meditations on Pri Etz Hadar

This prayer, and the seder, are based on the Kabbalah of the four worlds and the ancient idea that everything physical is an image of the spiritual. Traditionally this prayer was recited at the beginning of the seder, but it can also be recited at the end. A complete translation is found in Trees, Earth, and Torah. See also "The Trees Are Davening," on the COEJL and Shalom Center websites.

Note: Material in brackets is added to make the prayer easier to read. Material in parentheses represents alternative readings or Hebrew transliteration.


Abridged and translated by Rabbi David Seidenberg (c) 2006.
Download a Word doc with the text of this blessing. See also Tu Bish'vat Wisdom and the One-Page Haggadah, along with links to texts and resources.


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Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006