update deskJewish & Israeli Holidays

Israeli soldiers recite blessing on Gaza fruit trees

The ceremony included singing, "For all the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever." (Genesis 13:15)

An Israeli soldier during morning prayers near the border with Lebanon, Oct. 25, 2023. Photo by Michael Giladi/Flash90.
An Israeli soldier during morning prayers near the border with Lebanon, Oct. 25, 2023. Photo by Michael Giladi/Flash90.

Israel Defense Forces troops on Wednesday recited Birkat Ha’Ilanot, the seasonal blessing on blossoming fruit trees, in the Netzarim Corridor that splits the Gaza Strip.

According to Jewish law, if one sees fruit trees budding in the Hebrew month of Nisan, he recites the blessing, “Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the Universe, that His world is not lacking anything, and He created in it good creations and good trees for the pleasure of mankind.”

The special blessing is recited only once a year in the weeks preceding Passover, the Jewish festival of redemption. The sages of the Talmud interpret the tree renewal as a sign of the Jewish people’s redemption.

Wednesday’s ceremony, led by students from the Itamar yeshivah serving in the Nahal Brigade’s 931st Battalion, ended with the men singing, “For all the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” (Genesis 13:15)

One of the soldiers then added, “Also Gaza,” according to the video published by Arutz 7.

Last year, IDF troops held a mezuzah-hanging ceremony in Gaza City. Givati Infantry Brigade Rabbi Daniel Kind led the ceremony, which was attended by soldiers and commanders in the Strip as part of the mission to defeat Hamas after the Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,200 people in Israel.

In Jewish tradition, a mezuzah (“doorpost” in Hebrew) is a piece of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah held in a case that is attached to the right doorframe of the entrance to the home and in all of the rooms of the residence.

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