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Section: Moadim   Category: Around The Year
Tu B'Shvat - The Tragedy Of The Free Leaf

"Ki Hadam Eitz HaSadeh", a person is like a tree in the field. There are many comparisons between a tree and a person that are obvious to all, especially in area of nurturing and raising children as well as our relationship with our own father in Shamayim. Rav Yerachmiel Krem in his sefer "V'Talmudo B'Yado" brings one especially poignant similarity.

Many people, especially the young, strive for freedom, much like a leaf om a tree dreaming of breaking away from the tree and soaring and floating around the world. The leaf does not want to be stuck to its spot all its life on this massive tree with thousands of leaves just like. It gazes at the open sky and the beautiful surroundings and dreams of breaking away.

Finally the day comes and with the help of a blast of wind from the world around it, the grip of the aging tree weakens and the leaf is shorn from its roots. He is finally at peace as he and soars through the sky with nothing holding him back.

This moment that he waited a lifetime for, very quickly becomes turbulent. The same wind that set him freed now bounces him around in the rough air. After thrashing around for a while, this leave's dream comes crashing to the ground as he finds himself deposited on the street. With no nourishment from the tree, he quickly starts to dry up. Worse yet is the embarrassment of being trampled by the people above, who don't think twice about the leave and his shattered dreams. With a little luck this leave will be put out of his misery quickly when the street cleaner comes and gathers all the fallen leaves and gets rid of them forever.

The comparison is obvious and need not be elaborated on. The lesson is, to hold on to our roots, the Eitz Chaim that has kept us alive so many years through so many turbulent times. The tree is guaranteed to always survive as will all the leaves that manage to hang on tight.

We can take comfort in that the comparison ends there. The one major difference is that when the leave realizes his huge mistake and his misguided life long ambition, it is too late. Nothing can bring him back again. The tree can no longer accept him. Whereas the Eitz Chaim can always take a leave back if the leave is willing to muster up the courage to find its way back up the tree and take its old place that sat empty yearning for its return.