My favorite season of the year is now upon us – Springtime, nature’s way of reminding us that rebirth and renewal are ever within and around us, that there’s a continuum between the physical and the metaphysical, the world and the implicate order of things, the immanent and transcendent.
In Judaism, there’s a blessing for every occasion, and here are a few for this season:
Upon seeing the large-scale wonders of nature: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha-olam, osei ma-asei v’reishit – Praised are You Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Maker of the works of creation.
Upon seeing the small-scale wonders of nature: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha-olam, she-kacha lo b’olamo – Praised are You Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, that such as these are in God’s world.
Upon seeing trees blossoming for the first time in the year: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha-olam, she-lo chised b’olamo davar, u-vara vo b’riyot tovot v’ilanot tovim l’hanot vahem b’nai adam – Praised are You Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Who has withheld nothing from God’s world and has created beautiful creatures and trees for humankind to enjoy.
Upon seeing flowers and herbs: Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei is’vei v’samim – Praised are You Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Who creates fragrant flowers and herbs.
I offer you a few poems that may enhance your Seders in the celebration of springtime and renewal:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away / for, lo, the winter’s past, and the rain is gone; / the flowers appear on earth; / the time of singing is come, / and the voice of the turtle dove is heard; / the fig tree brings forth her green figs, / and the vines in blossom bring forth their fragrance. / Arise, my love, my fair one, come away.” Song of Songs 2:10-13
“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. / The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. / The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. / That it can be good again.” ―Suzanne Collins
“Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars / Something good will come out of all things yet / And it will be golden and eternal just like that / There’s no need to say another word.” ―Jack Kerouac
“The sun just touched the morning; / The morning, happy thing, / Supposed that he had come to dwell, / And life would be all spring.” ―Emily Dickinson
“’Is the spring coming?’ he said. ‘What’s it like?’ / It is the sun shining on the rain / and the rain falling on the sunshine, / and things pushing up and working under the earth.”―Frances Hodgson Burnett
“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” ―Mark Twain
“The snow has not yet left the earth, but spring is already asking to enter your heart. If you have ever recovered from a serious illness, you will be familiar with the blessed state when you are in a delicious state of anticipation, and are liable to smile without any obvious reason. Evidently that is what nature is experiencing just now. The ground is cold, mud and snow squelches under foot, but how cheerful, gentle and inviting everything is! The air is so clear and transparent that if you were to climb to the top of the pigeon loft or the bell tower, you feel you might actually see the whole universe from end to end. The sun is shining brightly, and its playful, beaming rays are bathing in the puddles along with the sparrows. The river is swelling and darkening; it has already woken up and very soon will begin to roar. The trees are bare, but they are already living and breathing.” ―Anton Chekhov
Hag Pesach Sameach!