Vol 36.14 - Tu B'Shvat                Spanish French Audio  Video

Hebrew Text:

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There are four New Years. on the first of Nisan is New year for kings and for festivals etc. On the first of Shvat is New Year for trees.- Connection between New Year for "kings" and festivals" ( that are on the same day), The special connection between them to New Year for "trees";  The reason that holidays are set according to the agricultural seasons and the advantage of trees over plants (5751)

Translation: L'iluy Nishmas Pessia bas R' Nochum A%22H

 1. We learned in Tractate Rosh Hashanah: "There are four New Years. On the first of Nissan is New year for kings and for festivals etc. On the first of Shvat is New Year for trees like the opinion of Beit Shammai, Beit Hillel say it is the fifteenth."

 Beside the general connection between the four New Years for since they are learned in one Mishnah and are all called %22New Year%22 is understood that there is a connection between them also in their essential aspects, according to the known rule (klal) "The end is rooted in the beginning (and the beginning in the end)" (Nautz sofan b'tichilasan b v'tichilasan b'sofan) it is understood that the essence of the New Year that is learned in the beginning of the Mishnah - "On the first of Nissan is New year for kings and for festivals" - is especially connected to New Year for trees that is leaned at the end of the Mishnah.
Moreover, since New year for kings and New year for festivals are on the same day, the first of Nissan, it is reasonable that there is a connection between them.
2. We can understand by prefacing what is written in the Bachya ( and also other commentators) that the three Regalim (Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot) are set according to the agricultural seasons: Pesach - at springtime; Shavuot the harvest festival for wheat; Sukkot the time of ingathering.
And the reason that the holidays of the year are set according to plant growth - according to Chassidut is:
The Jewish people are called "the harvest of G-d", as it states: "Israel is holy to the Lord,
the first of His grain ( Jer 2:3) and "I will plant them on their land (Amos 9:15)”. For the descent of Jewish souls into this world is like planting in the earth. Chazal state: "A man does not plant a Kor except to harvest many Korim" ie. the purpose of planting is to harvest bounty, that from one wheat kernel the growth of many kernels. And the same is with Bnei Yisroel, the purpose of "planting" them in this world, which is a great descent, from "the greatest of heights to the lowest of depths" ("m'igra ramah l'bira amikta" Chagigah 5b.) is the "growth" and development of the soul through this descent. Like the known statement: "the descent is necessary for the ascent" . For through he descent of the soul (to this) lower world, it is able to ascend to very great heights, higher than the level of the soul before it descended.
Moreover, from the growth of produce one can also learn the manner of the service of Jewish souls:
Growth of produce is not from the actual wheat kernel that is planted in the ground; rather it is through the rotting of the (wheat) kernel that is planted. For when the seed rots and becomes nullified to the power of growth in the earth, this awakens the power of growth in the earth to grow stalks of wheat. And from this is understood another concept – that the addition that is gained through planting is not just additional quantity (that from one kernel comes a great abundance) but one could say that it is like a new creation, a different quality.
And the same is with the descent and ascent of the soul, for the way to attain “growth” of the soul through the planting in the earth, is through man acting with Bittul ( similar to the aspect of rotting) “And my soul should be like dust to all” which is Avodah b’Kabbalat Ol ("acceptance of the yoke"; unequivocal commitment to G-d) ( which is the “beginning of service, its essence and root”, as written in the holy Tanya) For through this, the ascent of the soul and its “growth” is an ascent that is completely incomparable, for it becomes like a really new entity.
Just as with physical planting it says: “Those who sow with tears will reap with song He will go along weeping, carrying the valuable seeds; he will come back with song, carrying his sheaves.” That specifically through “sowing with tears… and weeping” with crying and Bittul, will be “reap with song … come back with song carrying his sheaves” - Similar is the Avodah of Bnei Yisroel, that through the Bittul and planting in the land comes from this happiness at the time of growth and revelation.
And one could say that in the spiritual Avodah,, the happiness that is revealed at the time of ascent is not just secondary (that since one sees the growth he is happy) but is related to the actual growth , For the ascent of the soul, on the level of “growth” which is an incomparable ascent (until it becomes like a new entity) is specifically through happiness. As is known from the concept of happiness breaking boundaries, that through true happiness, all the boundaries and obstacles of man are nullified. And this is the wondrous ascent that is accomplished by the soul’s Avodah in this world, where it becomes like a new entity (as above), this is accomplished through happiness, breaking the boundaries etc.
3. According to this one can explain the reason that the three Regalim are set according to the agricultural seasons:
Two of the aspects (mentioned above) that cause “growth and ascent of the soul, Bittul (decay) and happiness – are in the three Regalim:
On one hand, “Regalim” is from the word “foot” [ Therefore, a “child” etc that cannot hold his father’s hand to go up from Yerushalayim to the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) is exempt from the holiday pilgrimage ( Re’eah) because it states: “three Regalim” and as Rashi explains: “The Torah obligates (only) those that are able to walk up”. This is also in the Talmud: “one who has one lame foot is exempt from the mitzvah of appearing in the Bais Hamikdash for it says “Regalim” ( plural- feet)] – And as is known, “Regel” depicts Avodah d’Kabbalat Ol (unequivocal commitment to G-d’s kingdom), where one does not perform G-d’s will because he understands and comprehends it or because of his heart’s emotion ( Love and fear of G-d), but he does it because he accepts the yoke (and this is the concept of decay and Bittul in the planting):
On the other hand, they are “festivals of happiness” and this is the happiness that is revealed and the time of growing and ascent.
And this is the connecting point between Rosh Hashanah of festivals and Rosh Hashanah of kings:
The role of a Jewish king for the intent of Rosh Hashanah of kings is Jewish kings is to effect among the entire Jewish nation the concept of Bittul to G-d (“Sowing with tears”, Bittul and decay) for through this it raises the Bnei Yisroel to an extremely great height.
And as is known, the explanation of the Tzemach Tzedek that the aspect of a Jewish king is to draw down in each Jew the Bittul to the King of Kings - G-d. For a Jewish king must have complete and utter Bittul to HaShem, as Chazal state: “there is none above him except HaShem, his G-d” [Which is why “after a king bends his knees, he does not straighten” (he remains bowed until the end of the prayer). For this is not an aspect of carefulness (not to act haughty due to his status as king) but this itself is the role of a king, to bring himself to complete Bittul, until he is not able to straighten himself when standing before HaShem) And through the people nullifying themselves to G-d as it states: “you shall set a king over you and as Chazal state: “That his fear should be upon you”, this draws into them the Bittul of the king to the King of Kings - G-d.
And one could say that through the Bittul of the people to the king, this raises them to a very high level. For since the king is the epitome of elevation and aggrandizement (hisnasus v' romemus) as it says: “from his shoulders and above higher than the people”, therefore he has the ability to raise and lift the Bnei Yisroel to a greater height than they could achieve themselves – similar to the concept of planting which is a new entity ( as above)
4. Concerning the aspect of happiness on Regalim there are differences in the three Regalim themselves, as explained in the Yalkut: “You find three Simchot written for Chag (Sukkot) … but for Pesach you do not find Simcha Witten even once. Why?, You find that on Pesach that the produce is judged and man does not know if this year will produce crops or not, there Simcha is not mentioned.. And you find that on Atzeret (Shavuot) Simcha is written only once… and why is it written once because the produce is gathered in, and why is there not written two Simchot, because the fruit of the trees are judged.. But on Chag (Sukkot) because the produce and fruit are gathered in therefore three Simchot are written (Yalkut Shimoni, Emor, Remez 654.)
We thus find, the great Simcha on Chag HaSukkot) is because the fruit of the trees are gathered in (and not just the produce that is gathered in during Atzeret)
And one could say the (inner) reason for this (continuing from above) is:
The degrees above concerning planting are most pronounced regarding trees. For planting produce does not have within it the aspect of a really revealed new entity, for also the seed that is planted is wheat or barley etc (which has a taste and is edible) However, with the planting of trees the seed that is planted has no taste and the fruit grows from the tree have a completely different quality than the pit that is planted
And because of this there is a difference between sowing and planting regarding the growth span. For sowing “does not need so much time and waiting from the time of sowing until growth” However with planting “much time and waiting is needed for its growth etc”.
And this is because of the comparative difference between the planted seed and the fruits that grow from it.
On the other hand, there is a great advantage of fruits over the growth of produce. Fruits are able to be eaten immediately, not like grain, where the wheat is not edible as is, but requires many actions until it becomes edible.
And this is the reason for the great Simcha specifically on Chag HaSukkot, for since it is not only the ingathering of produce but also of fruit of trees, we find that, that is the time of the greatest completeness regarding growth.
5. Accordingly, it is understood the connection between the New year for kings and for festivals (at the beginning of the Mishnah) to the New Year for trees ( at the end of the Mishnah) – for "The beginning is wedged in the end” the heights (iluy) mentioned at the beginning of the Mishnah (the New year for kings and for festivals) the (incomparable) growth and elevation is wedged in the end, New Year for trees, in which it is emphasized the completeness regarding growth., which is specifically tress ( as above)
And in Avodas HaAdam one could say according to: “Man is a tree of the field” and as the Talmud states: “this refers to Talmidei Chachamim”, and according to this, the advantage of growth of trees is because of the advantage of Torah. And this is because in Torah it is stresses, that success is specifically dependent upon striving (Yegiah), “That you should toil in Torah”, as it states: “Struggle - and you will find” (Yagata... umatzata) that through toiling and struggling in Torah, which are connected to man’s Bittul. We will merit growth and success which is incomparable to the struggle. And this will bring true happiness. Those who sow with tears will reap with song.
( M’Sichat Tu b’Shvat 5735)


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