Reflections for Tu B’Shevat
Martin Buber, I and Thou, pp. 57-58 I can contemplate a tree. I can accept it as a picture…I can feel it as a movement…I can assign it to a species and observe it as an instance … I can overcome its uniqueness and form so rigorously that I can recognize it only as an expression of law … I can dissolve it into a number, into a pure relation between numbers, and externalize it. Throughout all of this the tree, the tree remains my object and has its time span, its kind and condition. But it can also happen, if will and grace are joined, that as I contemplate the tree, I am drawn into the relation and the tree ceases to be an It.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (attributed to the Baal Shem Tov)
The world is full of wonders, special radiance, and marvelous secrets, but all it takes is a small hand held over the eye to hide it all.
Baal Shem Tov
Trees and plants have a language of their own.
Two men were fighting over a piece of land. Each claimed ownership and bolstered his claim with proof. To resolve their differences, they agreed to put the case before the rabbi. The rabbi listened but could not come to a decision because both seemed to be right. Finally he said, “Since I cannot decide to whom this land belongs, let us ask the land.”. He put his ear to the ground, and after a moment straightened up. “Gentlemen, the land says that it belongs to neither of you – but that you belong to it.”