Sunny Fields and Orchards
Free translation and adaptation of a discourse by
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
15 of Shevat 5732
by Rabbi David Rothschild
Chassidic discourse is the most developed form of the inner Torah. Every word
is sculpted by Divine Inspiration. Delivered to coincide with a weekly Torah reading
or Jewish festival, these discourses make a spiritual connection with auspicious
Concepts from Kabbala and Zohar are developed to
perfection. Their relevance to the Five Books of Moses and Tanach (Old Testament)
as well as passages from the Talmud is expounded upon. This reveals their "inner
These discourses presuppose a familiarity
with Torah. Perhaps for these reasons, only a handful has been translated into
English and published as books by the Kehot Publication Society.
the course of two hundred years, the Lubavitcher Rebbes delivered thousands of
discourses. Now for the first time they are being made public on the Internet.
the texts that follow an attempt was made to abridge and elucidate their content.
To provide background information for difficult terms and concepts, additional
material from other Chassidic discourses, appears in brackets. The remaining content
is a free translation.
The Mishna designates the
Fifteenth of Shvat as, "The New Year for Fruit Trees." The specifying
of "trees," serves to exclude wheat, vegetables and other field produce.
A fundamental distinction between fruit of the tree and produce of the field is
implied; they are in different categories.
Everything that exists in the
physical world is derived from its spiritual source. Spiritual characteristics
determine an object's physical properties. It follows that in the spiritual realm,
there exists a difference between produce of the field and fruit of trees. What's
more, their primary distinction is found specifically in their spiritual source.
From there, their characteristics then descend into physical reality.
The difference in their spirituality can be discerned from
their physical properties. Both produce of the field and fruit trees that grow
in the wild aren't as choice as cultivated ones. An additional improvement is
obtained by means of sowing and planting.
A further distinction is evident
between the sowing of seeds and the planting of trees. It is easier to sow seeds
than to plant trees. This differentiation isn't limited to a measure of physical
labor; it can also be discerned on a psychological level.
When a person
beholds substantial return from his labor, his aggravation and toil are eased.
The pain of his labor is further reduced when he sees an immediate return. Produce
of the field [hereafter wheat] grows much faster than fruits of a newly planted
tree. Consequently, a person toils less - physically and emotionally -- when sowing
wheat than when he plants fruit trees.
Nevertheless, hard work does have
an advantage. This principle is articulated by the Talmud and Zohar as, "According
to the suffering, is the reward" [see Avot 5:17].
The abundance and
quality of fruit in relation to the seed from which the tree grew is incomparatively
greater than wheat in relationship to the seed from which it grew.
a kernel of wheat will sprout a single wheat stalk. Although these fresh kernels
are numerous, they do not possess a qualitative difference from the seed that
was sown. Their taste and appearance is identical.
This is not the case
with fruit. There is an enormous qualitative difference between a fruit and the
seed from which it grew. Fruit are sweet whereas its seed is tasteless. A single
tree will yield scores of fruit. And in each fruit are numerous seeds.
This illustrates the fundamental difference between wheat and fruit. Cultivation
of wheat doesn't require enormous labor. Therefore its harvest isn't extraordinary.
Planting fruit trees requires work, exertion and strain. The yield is much greater.
The explanation being, "According to the suffering is the reward."
Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Ari)
revealed the inner significance of the distinction between grain and fruit. He
said a wheat field (called a White Field -- a bright sunny field without shade)
corresponds to the primordial World of Chaos (Tohu). Orchards correspond to
the World of Rectification (Tikun).
[Originally, the World of Chaos
was created. It self-destructed due to the intensity of its lights and lack of
developed vessels. Then the World of Rectification was emanated in a pre-rectified
state. Rectification is another name for the World of Emanation (Atzilut).
There, G-d's Infinite Light is revealed within vessels as the ten seferahs or
The World of Chaos, though, didn't disappear from the scene.
When it blew apart, small pieces, called "sparks," fell down into the
Three Lower Worlds - the spiritual worlds of Creation, Formation, Action and this
Greater the height from which an object falls, further
is the distance it falls. Thus the loftier an object's spiritual source, the lower
it can descend. That's why the sparks of the World of Chaos fell all the way down
into the lower spiritual worlds and this physical world.]
[Rabbi David Rothschild,
a resident of Tsfat, is the founder and editor of Nefesh Magazine.]