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Tu Bishvat: Perek Shirah – Barley

The barley sings, “A prayer of the poor person when he swoons and pours out his supplications before God.” (Psalms 102:1) Barley is the poor man’s food, (Pesachim 3b, Shabbat 51b), so much so that it is the symbol of poverty.

The Hebrew for barley, “si’orim,” is related to, “Lo si’arum avoteichem,” “To Whom your fathers did not pay heed,” indicating attention, or Divine Providence. (Shorashim of Ibn Ganach)  Even the poorest person and the lowest thing are guided by Divine Providence. There is no one poorer than one who denies Divine Providence.

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