Springtime Blessing – Flowering Fruit Trees
I was recently at the springtime Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. I was astounded by the beauty of it all. It made me think I should praise God in some way for the beauty He created in this world. Is there an appropriate prayer to say on such an occasion?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
Yes, as a matter of fact. The Sages (Talmud – Brachot Ch. 9) instituted blessings to be recited upon observing many of the world’s wonders – majestic mountains, great rivers, astronomical events, exotic animals, beautiful people, great scholars. (A few rules can be found here.) We can and must see God’s handiwork in His entire creation. God most certainly leaves signposts of His existence throughout the natural world. We ought to take note of them when we see them.
The Sages likewise instituted a special blessing to be recited upon seeing blossoming fruit trees in the spring. It should ideally be said in the Hebrew month of Nissan – the month when the springtime Passover holiday falls. However, it can be said anytime in the spring. If you didn’t say the blessing when the trees first flowered, you can do so even after – so long as the fruit hasn’t yet ripened (Shulchan Aruch 226:1, Mishnah Berurah 4).
Here is the text of the blessing in both Hebrew (transliterated) and English:
Baruch atta Adonai Elohainu melech ha’olam, she’lo chisar ba’olamo davar, u’vara vo b’riyot tovot v’ilanot tovim, l’hanot bahem benei adam.
Blessed are You, Hashem our God, who did not cause a lack of anything in His world, and who created beautiful creations and beautiful trees to cause man pleasure through them.
I should add that the end of the blessing – “to cause man pleasure” – should not be taken to mean that we view the world selfishly – as if we are to exploit it for our own pleasure. Rather, we turn our praise into gratitude: Not only did God create a beautiful world. He allowed us to enjoy it too.