Nothing Missing in His World

Once, on a short chol hamoed day, my wife and I took our kids to a botanical garden not far from the house. We simply walked through the gardens taking in the fresh air and enjoying the diversity of the various blooming trees. On the way home, we appropriately stopped by a fruit tree in the neighborhood to make Birkas HaIlan, the Blessing over trees.

The blessing over trees is mentioned in the Talmud (Brachos 43b) and can be found in most siddurim in the section of brochos listed after Birkas HaMazon (Grace after Meals). It is a blessing that is made only once a year and the optimum time to make the blessing is in the month of Nisan. The blessing is only made on fruit bearing trees and can only be made after the tree has begun to blossom, preferably before the fruit has begun to grow. The Blessing loosely translates as: Blessed are You, Hashem, Our G-d, King of the world, for nothing is lacking in His world, and in it He created good creatures and good trees, in order for mankind to take pleasure in them.

There are three things that have always struck me as interesting about this blessing. First, why, of all blessings, does this one state that “nothing is lacking in His World”? Second, why does the blessing on trees mention “good creatures”? Third, what does making good trees and creatures have to do with “mankind taking pleasure in them”?

I have heard it explained that the reason that it is preferable to say the blessing after the tree has begun blossoming but before the fruit has begun to grow is that we are thanking G-d for the beauty of the blossoms. G-d could have easily created a fruit tree that is ugly and simply squeezes out fruit. But G-d wanted the world to be beautiful for us “to take pleasure in”. So, we thank Him for providing us these beautiful often aromatic, flowers. That is why the blessing says “nothing is lacking in His world” and that is why the blessing says that these things were created for mankind to take pleasure in.

The Ben Ish Chai (Chacham Yosef Chaim, Chief Rabbi of Baghdad in the mid to late 19th Century and renowned Sephardic Halachic decisor) explains why the blessing for trees includes the statement that Hashem created “good creatures”. The Ben Ish Chai explains that just as dry, withered and seemingly lifeless trees burst forth with beautiful flowers and bountiful fruit, so too can we as individuals shake off our spiritual slumbers and stagnating depressions to a blossoming, reinvigorating renaissance.

First Published 4/23/2006

7 comments on “Nothing Missing in His World

  1. Thanks David, for giving this beautiful bracha some coverage. Thanks too to Yitz for the other great posts.

    A shtikl of my own to add – I like to juxtapose “she lo chisar b’olamo d’var” from this blessing with “borei nafashot rabot v’chesronan” [short after bracha for non-bread eating] – so it says that in the OLAM, there are no chisronim – deficiencies, but that in the “nafashot rabot,” each of many individual living things, there are deficiencies – hinting at an explanation of the paradox of Hashem’s perfect creation [in its entirety] seeming to have so many flaws in our little world of distinctions.

    Thanks again
    Kol Tuv –

  2. David , profound & thought provoking proper perspective facilitator …I guess there can be inherent beauty even when one may find themselves losing their blossoms or grounded in mud…..its all in the emotional perspective and focusing on the fruitful forest as opposed to tripping on the blossom shedding trees…..

  3. Jaded Topaz,

    Perhaps this is to teach us that even when beauty fades, real, internal beauty, the kind that produces “fruit” lasts.

  4. The cherry tree blossoms in varying shades and hues of pink and white r ethereal and utterly take your breath away beautiful .The question though is why the fleeting beauty.The pretty blossoms barely stay on the tree long enough for visual image processing and before you can say pink sparkledust they r gone with the wind fluttering on the muddy ground along with the rest of the sparkle dust of daily happenstance ……… is it that easy for the “spiritual slumbers and stagnating depressions ” to resurface once the blossoms have faded and the cherries have fallen leaving run of the mill greenery and leafery for late bird viewing purposes ….

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