24 Av 5781 / Monday, August 02, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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Roots – Jewish Style    

Roots – Jewish Style

Those who pursue what is right will be rooted so firmly in blessing that nothing can sway them. How do we get that way?


Praiseworthy is the man who does not follow the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners nor sit in the company of scorners. But his desire Hashem's Torah, and in His Torah he meditates day and night (Psalms, 1:2). 


Every summer, we take the kids to the Snir Stream Nature Reserve. It sits right next to the Golan Heights.  


The tallest mountain in the Heights is Mount Hermon. It’s the only part of Israel that receives snow every year.  


Come winter, thousands of Israelis flock north to brave the cold weather, massive traffic jams, and an army of Druze merchants to do something pretty unique to our desert kingdom: Go skiing.  


By springtime the snow melts. Baruch Hashem, a massive amount of water rushes down the Hermon and flows into the rivers, lakes, and streams on their way to the Kinneret.  


Snir gets its mountain water first. Its clear, clean, and cold as ice. At the beginning of the trail there is a small wading pond about the size of a kids playground. The water is ankle deep with two small waterfalls at one end. 


The falls look like showers because the water deposits about an arm’s length above your head. The only difference is that the water comes in a steady stream, as if a never ending bucket was being poured over your head.  


This is the initiation to Snir. If you can stand under a constant stream of Arctic water for more than ten seconds, you are ready for what comes next.  


I lead the way. A moment later, my youngest charges the water. It’s amazing how a rush of icy water can inject your veins with pure electricity. We high five each other.  


I empty all our water bottles and replace them with God’s perpetual gift.  


Planting Roots in the Land of Life 

Throughout the trail, the Land of Israel gives us an organic Torah lesson.  


The righteous shall be as a tree planted beside streams of water, which brings forth its fruit in its season, and its leaves do not wilt; and whatever he does prospers (Psalms, 1:3). 


What does it mean to be planted beside streams of water?   


The words are only a small part of the story.  


The roots of a tree firmly planted alongside a stream of water are huge.  


Nothing you are seeing is man-made. All of it is made by our Creator. He made the water, the trees, the soil, and the roots to show us.  


The ever-running water erodes the soil. It erodes the rock. But it does not erode the roots.  


The living waters sustain the roots, even as they destroy harder substances all around it.  


The Torah is likened to water. Hashem gives us the Torah to withstand and ultimately defeat evil, no matter how stronger it appears. 


Roots, for the most part, aren’t seen, but nothing can exist without them. Hashem isn’t tangibly seen either, and we cannot exist with Him.  


What you are seeing is what happens to us when we internalize the blessings Hashem gives us for turning away from all evil influences and delving in Torah and Mitzvot, and living a righteous life.  


We traverse dozens of trees like these, all growing and flourishing alongside the stream.  


Some trees have roots that are thicker than standard tree trunks. Some trees have 20-30 roots, all digging into the stream itself, submerging beneath the water and underneath the waterbed.  


We keep going, walking on the roots themselves. We step on each one, all holding our weight with the durability of solid rock.  


The hike is one huge Torah class. 


Taking it Back with Us 

The world is a scary place. Merciless cutthroats everywhere do anything to become rich and famous. The people we see who “make it” in the paper, on tv, and highlighted on social media are the wicked, the sinners, and the scorners.  


The five richest men on earth include three confirmed adulterers. The only Jew to make the list is married to a non-Jew and asked the leader of the largest atheist nation on earth who put 10 million God-fearing people into concentration camps to name his child 


We are all pressured to be them. 


Like Hollywood and music stars, all of whom are into drugs, immorality, and treating people like dirt. We are told to heap praise on the social warriors, all of whom are trying to cancel God and replace everything He wants with nonstop abominations.  


If these monsters were exposed for what they are, life would be easy. They aren’t. The media, which they own, censors all mention of their evil and praises them like idols to be worshipped.  


It’s as if anyone fighting to stand with God teeters on the edge at all times.  


That is what Psalm #1 is all about.  


Those who pursue what is right will be rooted so firmly in blessing that nothing can sway them.  


King David goes on to warn the imposters: The wicked are like chaff that the wind drives away  (Psalms,  1:4).  


As firmly as their life looks before all of our eyes, they are like dry leaves; one small breeze and it all becomes scattered bits in the wind.  


The wicked shall not stand up in judgment, nor shall the sinners in the congregation of the righteous (Psalms, 1:5). 


If we want to be like the tree alongside water, rooted, bearing fruit, and successful, we must work on our behavior by distancing ourselves from evil influences and learning Torah 


  1. 1. The first step is to escape the Devil’s Quarter. Distance yourself from smartphones, social media, the news, television, movies, non-religious music, and anyone who makes jokes at Rabbis, the Religious, and moral standards.  

  1. 2. Perform the greatest mitzvah of our day by learning how to use your body the way God wants. Unheard of temptation to sin in this regard makes the effort, and the blessing greater than ever before.  


  2. 3. In less than ten minutes, you can learn about this week’s Torah portion. 


  1. 4. Guarding your speech is how to defeat baseless hatred, and bring the full Redemption closer.  

  1. 5. Now use your speech properly by praying that everyone should learn to love and respect each other! Commit to 30 minutes of hitbodedut for Am Yisrael. 


  1. 6. Having faith in G-d is the path to peace and happiness in all walks of life.  

God sees everything, even as the world tries to convince you He is running blind. Knowing this is the key to refining everything you do, and meriting the true and eternal rewards of a life well spent.  


For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish (Psalms, 1:6). 



David Ben Horin lives in Afula with his wife and children. Since moving to Israel in 2002, David has fallen in love with Torah, hi-tech,  hiking, GatsbyJS, and telling stories about the Land of Israel from  anyone   willing  to  tell them. Share your favorite Israel story with David at:david.ben.horin@spreadyourenthusiasm.com, or check him out at Highway 60 



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