A New Year for Trees

February 6, 2017
JScreen

by Rachel W.

The 12 Fruits and What We Can Take Away From Them

 

1. Wheat
Wheat makes up a large majority of many of our diets- just think of the bread and pasta products you consume on a daily basis. However, the final products of wheat and flour made are not without labor and patience. In addition to this, there are several varieties of wheat, each with their pace for maturity and season for harvesting. Self-acceptance does not always come easy to us, but if we can only accept ourselves and our individual paths- however timely or untimely we may feel them to be- to become our best selves, we can have a positive impact for both ourselves and those around us.

 
2. Olives
Olives yield the best oil only when the fruit is crushed. While life can beat us down, it is not for nothing. Look at it as an opportunity to be shaped and learn, so that you may, like olive oil, float atop that which is heavy.

 
3. Dates
The date tree is our reminder that beneath those who seem bitter and guarded, some aspect of sweetness is there. Date trees have thorns that are approximately four to five inches long and are said to be able to pierce a rubber tire. The first step in the harvesting process is to remove these thorns. Let the date tree serve as a reminder to have compassion for those who may seem sharp and thorny.

 
4. Grapes
Grapes are one of the most versatile fruits. They can be transformed into raisins and wine. We as Jews each have our own potential to be unique and expressive in our own way.

 
5. Figs
Figs must be picked as soon as they ripen, or they will quickly spoil. The fig reminds us to be bold and go after our dreams.

 
6. Pomegranates
We’ve all heard the rumor before- pomegranates have 613 seeds, as many as there are mitzvoth ( commandments) in the Torah. Let the pomegranate be a reminder to incorporate mitzvot in your day.

 
7. Etrogim “citrons”
The etrog remains on the tree for an entire year, and unifies all four seasons. Think of someone with a beautiful soul in your life, who unites those around him or her. Be grateful and show your gratitude towards that person, even if it is just a phone call.

 
8. Apples
Apples produce leaves before they produce fruit. Sometimes things happen to us in life before we can have clarity or understanding as to why they did. As difficult as it may be, use these opportunities for personal reflection or prayer to search for meaning.

 
9. Walnuts
Walnuts have two shells that must be removed to reach their center, one hard and one soft. When you go through a trial or tribulation in life, know that it can only get better, but to remain strong in the pursuit of what’s next, whether it’s a new job, a new relationship, or freedom from something that is holding you back, or rather preparing you for the next phase of your life.

 
10. Almonds
An almond tree is always the first to bloom. Cut down on the stress in your life by waking up 15 minutes earlier to reflect and prepare for your day to come.

 
11. Carobs
Much like wheat, carob trees undergo an extensive maturing process. However, a carob tree can take 70 years to mature and bear fruit, according to the Talmud. Thus the carob is a true reminder to us to be patient, for our labor and experiences in the short-term are investments that are important for those generations to come.

 
12. Pears
There are approximately 5000 varieties of pears grown throughout the world, but they all belong to the pear “family”. As Jews and members of an extremely diverse world, it is important to be both respectful and appreciative of the fact that we were not all created as carbon copies of one another. We each have different upbringings and opinions. The pear reminds us to celebrate both diversity and unity.

 

Wishing you a wonderful and thought-provoking Tu B’Shevat!

Sources: Aish.com and Chabad.org

JScreen

JScreen is a non-profit, community-based public health initiative dedicated to preventing Jewish genetic diseases. Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University School of Medicine, the JScreen initiative is a collaboration among clinical geneticists, socially minded businesses, and nonprofits to provide everyday people with a ready access point to cutting-edge genetic testing technology, patient education, and genetic counseling services.