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Monday, July 02, 2007

Mystery Tree #4

This one is easy:



Update: I told you that this was an easy one. Kol HaKavod to Rafi and Jacob.

The fig, as is well known, is one of the "seven species" that the land of Israel was praised for(Deuteronomy Chapter 8):
And thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. And thou shalt eat and be satisfied, and bless the LORD thy God for the good land which He hath given thee.
The fig tree is mentioned in many other places, one of them being Proverbs 27:18:
Whoso keepeth the fig-tree shall eat the fruit thereof; and he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.
Our rabbis understood that King Solomon was referring to the Torah as Rabbi Mendel Weinbach explains:
When King Shlomo compared Torah to the fig (Mishlei 27:18), he conveyed an important message about gaining and retaining Torah knowledge.

Rabbi Chiya bar Abba quoted Rabbi Yochanan (Eiruvin 54a) as to why the comparison was made:

“Just as one constantly finds figs when he approaches the tree (since they do not all ripen at the same time, there are always some available for eating- Rashi), so too will one always find a new taste in the Torah he is studying.”

If this message about gaining Torah knowledge is derived from the comparison to the fig tree itself, there is another message from the words of this passage regarding the protection of that fig tree which yields fruit for its protector.

“One who sees a fig tree in a dream,” say our Sages (Berachot 57a) “it is a message from Heaven that his Torah knowledge is retained and protected in him.”

The fig tree thus conveys the double message of gaining Torah knowledge by appreciating the new thrill which comes with every step of learning, and the need to retain and protect that knowledge through constant review so that we can enjoy the fruits of our study even if we are not lucky enough to see a fig tree in our dreams.
I could write a lot more about figs but today is a fast day and all of this fig talk is making me hungry.

3 comments:

Rafi G said...

fig!!

Jacob Da Jew said...

Figgy

Mr Bagel said...

Dang, I finally know one of your mystery tree series and I'm too late to answer, oh well it fig ures!

BTW Cosmic X you're Tagged
Mr Bagel

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