Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

Download print

Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees

The Torah in Parashat Kedoshim (Vayikra 19:23) commands that when Beneh Yisrael enter the land and plant trees, they must refrain from eating a tree’s fruits during the first three years after it is planted. During these three years, the fruits are called "Orla" and are forbidden for consumption and for any sort of benefit.

The Or Ha’haim Ha’kadosh (Rav Haim Ben-Attar, 1696-1743) offers a remarkable interpretation of this verse, explaining that beyond introducing the prohibition of Orla, the Torah here also teaches us about the importance of producing children who are committed to Torah. The Torah tells us that when we go to Eretz Yisrael, our priority must be to "plant trees" – referring to producing students and scholars of Torah. The Or Ha’haim brings a number of sources where producing scholars is compared to planting a tree. For example, the Gemara (Shabbat 118b) cites Rabbi Yossi’s remark that he "planted five saplings," referring to his five sons, who grew to become Torah scholars. Similarly, Yeshayahu (65:22) compares his fellow sages to trees ("Ki’ymeh Ha’etz Yemeh Ami").

The Or Ha’haim proceeds to explain that those who study Torah are called "trees" because they sustain the souls of the Jewish Nation. To demonstrate this point, the Or Ha’haim references the famous story told of Rabbi Akiba, who once came across a man who was unclothed, his skin charred, carrying large amounts of wood. The man explained to Rabbi Akiba that he had died and been sentenced to Gehinam because of the evils he perpetrated during his lifetime. His punishment, he said, was to collect wood each day, which is then used to burn his soul. The only way he could be extricated from Gehinam and end his suffering, the man told Rabbi Akiba, is if he had a son reciting Barechu or Kaddish in the synagogue. This man had died when his wife was pregnant, and he did not know whether or not she had a son. Rabbi Akiba immediately proceeded to inquire about this fellow, and determined that indeed, he had a son, but this son had not even received a Berit Mila, let alone a religious education. Immediately, Rabbi Akiba gave the young man a Berit Mila, and sat and taught him Torah. When the young man was ready, Rabbi Akiba brought him to the synagogue to recite Barechu. That night, the father appeared to Rabbi Akiba in a dream to inform him that he had been released from Gehinam.

The Or Ha’haim brings this story to show how producing youngsters who study and practice Torah resemble the planting of trees which produce nourishing fruit. Building a generation of men and women devoted to Torah is the way we sustain our nation, even the souls of the deceased.

May Hashem grant us His assistance in our efforts to "plant" beautiful "trees," to produce the next generation of devoted students of Torah, that will provide our nation with the spiritual sustenance that it needs to continue its sacred mission.

Related Parasha
Kedoshim- The Reward for Honoring Parents - 2022 Year
Parashat Ahareh Mot- Feeling Hashem’s Presence - 2022 Year
Shevi'i Shel Pesah- Achieving True Freedom - 2022 Year
Pesah: Remembering the Root Cause of the Egyptian Exile - 2022 Year
Parashat Ahare Mot/Kedoshim: Keeping Hashem’s Presence Among Us - 2021 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: Complementing One Another - 2020 Year
Parashat Kedoshim- Understanding the Three Years of Orla - 2019 Year
The Hafetz Haim’s Theory of Relativity - 2019 Year
The “Intoxication” of the Seder - 2019 Year
Kedoshim: Kedusha – A Group Effort - 2018 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: The Right Way to Criticize - 2017 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: Modern-Day Idolatry - 2016 Year
Parashat Ahareh-Mot: The Impact of Our Actions - 2016 Year
Pesah: G-d’s Promise at the Shores of the Yam Suf - 2016 Year
Pesah- Reward for a Kiddush Hashem - 2016 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: Giving Criticism - 2015 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: What Does “Holy” Mean? - 2014 Year
Parashat Ahare Mot- The Lesson of the White and Gold Garments - 2014 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: Paying Workers on Time - 2013 Year
Parashat Kedoshim- Parenting and Holiness - 2011 Year
Shabbat Morning Class - Pesah - 2011 Year
Parashat Naso- Emuna First
Shavuot- Celebrating the Eternal Torah
Shavuot- The Challenge – and Rewards – of Torah Commitment
Parashat Behar- Experiencing the Sweetness and Delight of Torah
Parashat Emor- Keter Shem Tob 'The Crown of Good Reputation'
Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees
Parashat Shemini- Respect and Reverence in the Synagogue
Pesah: Redemption Then and Now
Pesah- Its A Mirage
Parashat Vayikra- The Triple Sin of Dishonesty
Parashat Pekudeh- Counting the Things That Matter
Parashat Ki Tisa- The Sanctity of Every Jew
Purim and the Sale of Yosef
Parashat Terumah- The Torah’s “Footsteps”
Parashat Mishpatim: Our Religious Resume
Page of 67
1001 Parashot found