Rooted in the Ground of Being: Tu B’Shvat: The New Year for Trees

 

The most difficult thing in the world is to just be – to stop planning, scheming, and doing and just be. Yet, there is nothing more powerful than a person who truly IS. In just being, we become our true Self. We live centered in the core of our being, and everything that we do or say emanates from that profound and vital place.

Nothing can move something that is strongly rooted. Think of the power of a tree with deep roots. This is how we become by simply being. Nothing can move us, nothing can disrupt us; nothing can unbalance our hearts and minds.

I once saw a martial arts presentation that gave a convincing demonstration of this principle. In the presentation, a short slight young woman fixed herself to the ground using the power of the “chi” or life energy. Even two strong football players from the audience could not move her from her place. She accomplished this feat by drawing on the power of the chi to physically “root” herself to the earth.

We too need to learn how to draw on the power of the chi or life energy to spiritually root ourselves in our soul. Like a firmly planted tree, we need to learn how to dig down deep to where there is abundant water and nourishment, to draw on the strength that is deep within ourselves.

 

In the Torah, we are told that when Jacob came to his father Isaac to ask for his blessing, Isaac smelled his garment and then blessed him, saying:

“See, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed.” – Genesis 27:27

In the Zohar, the central text of Jewish mysticism, it states that there is a celestial apple field in the heavens. This field is the domain of the Shechinah – the Divine Mother. Each human being is a tree planted in this field, as it is written:

“Man is the tree of the field.” – Deuteronomy 20:19 

The Zohar goes on to explain that when Isaac smelled the garments of his son Jacob, it was not the physical scent of the garment that he was smelling, rather it was the heavenly perfume that emanated from it – the perfume of the Holy Apple Field. This is what Isaac meant when he said: “the smell of my son is like the smell of a field.”

This is why Isaac begins his formal blessing of Jacob with the following words:

“Vayitain lecha HaElohim meetal hashamayim” And may God give you of the dew of heaven. – Genesis 27:28

According to the Zohar, there is dew that descends every day from the place that is called “heaven” onto the Holy Apple Field. This place called heaven is the abode of the Lower Countenance – the Holy One, Blessed be He. This Great Being overshadows the Holy Apple Field. His Spirit falls upon this field like droplets of heavenly dew nourishing and soothing the thirsty trees. Isaac declared that Jacob’s clothes had the fragrance “of a field that the Lord has blessed” because he sensed that the presence of the Divine Spirit had permeated the soul of Jacob in the celestial Apple Field and entered into the heart and mind of his son. [1]

We are all rooted in the Divine Mother – we all draw our life and vitality from Her sacred “soil.” By learning to center ourselves in this supernal source, we can draw new energies into our lives. We can experience true peace and contentment. We can find inner strength and solidity. We can fill our existence with all the blessings that are of the Spirit.

 

The Hasidic Master, Rebbe Shlomo of Radamsk expands upon this idea in his interpretation of the concept of a “field of blessing.”

Before beginning his blessing, Isaac states that Jacob’s garment smells like a field. What is so important, Rebbe Shlomo asks, about the smell of a field?

A field that is ready for planting, explains Rebbe Shlomo, has had all the weeds and stones removed, and it has been thoroughly ploughed. It is this fragrance, the distinctive scent of freshly turned earth, to which Isaac is referring.

By comparing Jacob’s garment to a freshly ploughed field, Isaac is stating that Jacob is a vessel that has been fittingly prepared for God’s blessing. This blessing will flow into him without any obstruction. In fact, the Divine blessing will automatically descend into such a waiting vessel, and then flow naturally on to wherever it is needed. [2]

If we want to be rooted in the Ground of Being, then we need to prepare our spiritual field. We need to remove the stones and weeds from our field by letting go of all of our fears and desires. We need to plough deep into the earth of our inner reality using the potent tools of meditation and self-introspection. Then, we will be ready for the Divine planting; we will be ready to encounter our true Self.

 

“Vayitain lecha HaElohim meetal hashamayim” And may God give you of the dew of heaven. – Genesis 27:28

According to Rebbe Ephraim of Sadilkov, the Baal Shem’s grandson, what Isaac is bestowing upon Jacob is much more than just a blessing. To understand the true nature of Isaac’s gift to Jacob, he says, we need to take a closer look at the grammatical structure of this Biblical phrase.

In the words of his blessing, Isaac uses the term HaElohim (the God), and not just Elohim (God). The addition of the prefix ha (the) seems unnecessary, so why, Rebbe Ephraim asks, is it used in the phrase? Rebbe Ephraim explains that the prefix ha (the) is used in the phrase to tell us the special nature of the blessing which Jacob receives. The unique blessing which he receives is “haelohut” – the direct experience of the Divine.

Isaac is blessing Jacob to be continually filled with God’s Living Presence. He is blessing him to be bound to the Higher Realm at all times. Isaac is blessing Jacob to remain always in a state of God consciousness. Isaac is blessing his son with the special Divine emanation which we call the “heavenly dew.” [3]

 

We all want to do the Will of God. We are constantly searching for signs and symbols to guide us along our way. We sit for hours in meditation in the hope of receiving heavenly visions and Divine messages that will reveal to us what the Lord wants us to do. Our true task in the spiritual life, however, is not to discover God’s Will but to become it. An enlightened master does not need to seek God’s Will because he is the embodiment of that Will. It makes up his very being and animates everything that he does.  A realized master has no other existence except in God; he has no separate will of his own.

Sri Ramakrishna used to sing a song that poignantly expresses the nature of this sublime state of consciousness:

O Mother, thou art the operator and I am the machine.

Thou art the indweller and I am the house.

Thou art the driver and I am the chariot.

I move as thou movest me.

I do as thou makest me do.

I speak as thou makest me speak.

Mother, not I, not I, but thou, but thou.

Mother, thou art my refuge!

Thou art my refuge! Thou art my refuge! [4]

 

If we have properly prepared our inner field, if we have cleansed our spiritual vessel, then we will soon be planted in the orchard of the Holy Apple Field; we will become rooted in the awareness of our true Self. The more that we are rooted in the awareness of our true Self, the more the Will of God will pour into us. Like heavenly dew, it will permeate inside us and fill every cell of our being. It will become an ever-increasing part of our consciousness until all of our limbs will only move in accordance with His Will. Our heart will only be aroused to Her desire. Our mind will only be drawn where His Mind focuses us. Our life will be lived wholly in and of Her alone.

 

Copyright © 2011, by Yoel Glick



Acknowledgements    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Zohar, Part I, p. 224B
  2. Shlomo of Radamsk, Tifferet Shlomo, Torah portion Toldot
  3.  Ephraim of Stadilkov, Degel Machaneh Ephraim, Torah portion Toldot
  4. Swami Chetanananda, Ramakrishna as we Saw Him

Join the discussion One Comment

  • shira dvora says:

    “Be like a tree planted by streams of water which will give its fruit in its season..” tehillim 1.3