An Israeli Prayer for The Planting of a Tree

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WE WALKED across the harsh countryside of Neot Kedimim, a Biblical Landscape Reserve sprawling between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

There are highlands and valleys, places where rain seldom touches the earth, and it looks much as it did more than three thousand years ago when the Children of Israel first wandered across the terrain.

We were each given a small olive tree to plant in soil that feels the brunt of an unforgiving sun but seldom the cool of an evening shade.

Trees on a barren landscape are precious.

They are hope.

They are life.

After the planting, this was the prayer given for and by us all:

Heavenly Father,

Thou who buildest Zion and Jerusalem

Take pleasure in Thy land

And bestow upon it Thy goodness

And Thy grace.

 

Give dew for a blessing

And cause beneficent rains

To fall in their season

To satiate the mounts of Israel

And her valleys

And to water thereon every plant and tree.

 

And these saplings

Which we plant before Thee this day,

Make deep their roots and wide their crown,

That they may blossom forth in grace

Amongst all the trees in Israel,

For good and for beauty.

 

And strengthen the hands of all our brethren,

Who toil to revive the sacred soil

And make fruitful its waters.

Bless, O Lord, their might,

And may the work of their hands

Find favour before Thee.

 

Look down from Thy holy habitation,

From Heaven,

And bless this land

That it may flow again with milk and honey.

Amen.

 

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