A week away from Pesah, the temperature is climbing gradually. Pesah is as much about spring renewal as it is about freedom; at least two of the symbols on the seder plate are there to remind us of spring, but the earth is dropping natural hints all over the place.
This morning when I arrived at Temple Israel for our morning minyan, I was greeted by a floral explosion right outside the chapel windows - the tree that sits just outside has blossomed. At the end of Shaharit, as we were wrapping up our tefillin, we recited the following berakhah, which is customarily recited when one sees trees in bloom for the first time each year:
ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם
שלא חיסר בעולמו דבר
וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובים
להנות בהם בני אדם
Barukh atah Adonai, eloheinu melekh ha-olam
shelo hiser be-olamo davar
uvara vo beriyot tovot ve-ilanot tovim
lehanot bahem benei adam.
Praised are You Adonai our God, who rules the universe,
which lacks nothing;
for God created fine creatures and pleasant trees
in order that humans might enjoy them.
The berakhah says nothing about flowers. Rather, this is a larger opportunity to appreciate the trees and the other features of the environment and our enjoyment of them, which returns every spring.
Pesah is in bloom! Happy cleaning.