Perek Shira teaches us that each bird has its own niggun (melody).
The Land of Israel is blessed with wonderful menagnim ksherim, upright melodists, who live their lives in purity and sing and play their melodies for the purpose of praising Hashem's Name and bringing people closer to Him. One of these is my cherished friend and spiritual brother, Shlomo Katz. One night, he couldn't sleep. He took a walk to the Holy Western Wall (Kotel) between midnight and first light, and he heard the birds singing this niggun, which he recorded for us. Enjoy, and have a wonderful Shabbat Shira!
The Torah tells us that man is a tree in the field. Therefore, the New Year for trees - Tu B'Shvat, which falls this Shabbat - is our New Year too. On the Brody Shabbat table will be, G-d willing, more than 18 varieties of fresh and dried fruit to celebrate. Our salads will be garnished with the best Land of Israel olive oil and there'll be wine from the Golan, the Galilee, Judea, Samson Valley and Samaria - the best in the world.
There's so much to learn from the trees. Here's an example:
Tu B'Shvat this year is Friday night, Jan. 25 and Shabbat, Jan. 26
People ask what a "New Year for Trees" is all about.
The Torah says that "man is a tree in the field." We, the People of Israel, are certainly like a tree.
In the Holocaust, we lost 6,000,000 leaves and were left with bare branches. According to the Iranians and their proxies who are at this moment aiming 200,000 missiles at us, we're dying altogether, and - in their words - it's a matter of pushing the button and a mere 9 minutes for them to finish us off. Utzu eitza v'tufar...
What our enemies in every generation fail to understand is that our roots are deep and mighty. Our 3,800 year-old spiritual taproot cuts through the boulders of time and reaches Moses, then back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Just as our enemies can't see our roots, they can never uproot us.
On Tu B'Shvat, the trees look dead. But don't be mistaken - soon they shall flower in all their glory.
Maybe we look dead now with all the threats from the outside and all of our unity-and-tolerance problems from within. But don't lose heart. When we lease expect it, Hashem will redeem us and send Moshiach, and the Jewish people - like an almond tree in Shvat - will blossom and rejuvenate in all our glory, in our newly rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem, soon, amen! Happy Tu B'Shvat!
Don't forget to say "Parshat HaMan" today: Segula (spiritual invoking ploy) for a good income - on the Tuesday of the Parshat Beshalach week, our sages tell us that it's an opportune time to recite "Parshat HaMan", the story of the manna, the Heaven-sent bread that sustained the Children of Israel for forty years in the desert. One should read it in Hebrew if possible, twice mikra and once targum. For your convenience, here is a clearly presented Parshat HaMan. If you read English only, then you can find Parshat HaMan in your English Chumash, Exodus Chapter 16, verses 4-36. May Hashem send a wonderful parnassa to everyone, amen!
I love trees, especially the native fruit-bearing trees of Israel that are mentioned in the Torah - olives (photo above), grapes, figs, dates, and pomegranates. Our citrus and deciduous orchards here are magnificent too, and if you've ever tasted Israeli fruit, it's hard to eat anything else.
My best personal prayer sessions and musical inspirations are out in the orchards.
Trees are a metiphor to our existence. The deeper our roots, the stronger we are. I write about it this week on Breslev Israel web magazine, so check out Save the Trees. My esteemed and beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush also speaks in tree imagery this week in First, the Peel. Tal Rotem is also in a Tu B'Shvat mood in Here to Stay, writing how no one can uproot us from our holy land as long as we cling to our roots.