Tu Bishvat: Trees: Roots
Though a plant continually grows upward, in contrast to animals and humans which move freely, it must remain firmly rooted in its source of nourishment, the earth. A fish, on the other hand, must also remain continually connected to its source of nourishment, the water. But its entire body must be constantly in its source. (Based on Likutei Sichot, Vol. VI)
Sometimes, we struggle with our desire to break free from anything that might compromise our independence. Other times, we are so scared of being on our own that we feel the need to be surrounded by things or people that will continually take care of us.
Sometimes, we feel weighed down by our links to a past that seems to stifle our self-expression, to the point where we severe our connection to our roots. Other times, we are so unsure of what we would become if we were exposed to unfamiliar ideas and external influences that we cocoon ourselves in a cushioned shelter.
The tree is the balance between the animal and human who have no tangible roots that bind them, and fish who cannot survive if they are not totally immersed in their source.
The tree is rooted in the soil, yet it develops from there, reaching up and expanding outwards.
This is our opportunity to reflect on our source of spiritual nourishment and on how connected we are willing to be to that source. It is also the time to consider whether we tend to stifle our development by misusing the web of our roots as a restrictive structure, or whether our roots nurture us as we grow, blossom and expand.