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Friday, October 28, 2005

The fruit and the tree

In the Parsha (1:11), Hashem commands the earth to give forth "fruit trees producing fruit" The earth, however is described (1:12) as giving forth "trees producing fruit"

The midrash explains that the original intention of creation was that the tree itself would be flavorful just like the fruit. The result in creation however was that flavor would only be found in the fruit, not the tree. (ב"ר ה, ט).

A different midrash (that I was unable to locate) informs us the in messianic times, the tree will return to taste the same as its fruit.

Maran Harav Kook Zt"l explains in the 6th chapter of Orot HaTeshuva that the tree itself represents the means while the fruit represents the ends. In an unredeemed world, we appreciate the results of our daily struggles. We set good goals for ourselves and feel the taste of their goodness as we draw near to meeting those goals. These lofty ideals give meaning and purpose to our mundane existence which unfortunately, takes up most of our day. In other words, the means is only as spiritual to the extant that we are focused on the end result.

In the future, however, we will see the connection between our efforts and their results so clearly that the full sublime beauty of the goal will be felt during every mundane moment. The walls between the physical and spiritual will fall and the whole world will be permeated with the active presence of Hashem. Then, "the bark of the tree will taste like the fruit."