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There are three types of trees: non-fruit-bearing trees, fruit-bearing trees, and fruit-bearing trees whose wood and fruit taste the same.

Of the third day of Creation it is written, "The land should sprout … fruit trees which produce fruit of its kind" (Gen. 1:11). Rashi explains that [the reason it says 'fruit trees that produce fruit' and not simply 'trees that produce fruit' is because the intention was that] a fruit tree would have the same taste as its fruit. Therefore, "when man was cursed for his sin, the earth was remembered for its sin, and was also cursed."

What is the great virtue that the taste of the wood be the same as the taste of the fruit?

We need to understand, what is the great virtue that the taste of the wood be the same as the taste of the fruit? Either way, if it is the same taste as the fruit, why do you need the fruit, and if there is a taste of the fruit, why do you need the wood?

The Ohr HaChaim writes, "The earth became wise and produced three categories of trees, which it heard [it should do] in G‑d's words, due to its enthusiasm. The first are the trees that produce fruit, but their wood does not taste like the fruit. The second produces fruit, and its wood tastes like the fruit, and it is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which our Sages say, (Bereishit Raba 15:7) that its wood tasted like its fruit. The third are similar to fruit trees; they are the non fruit-bearing trees. "The earth rushed to do all that it heard [from G‑d]." (Gen. 1:12)

It is brought in the introduction to the Zohar written by Rabbi Ashlag that there are four levels within the development of "the desire to receive." The first is "the desire to receive" in order to receive for oneself. Within this division there are two stages. The first stage is "the desire to receive" the physical. The second stage is "the desire to receive" the spiritual. Both of them are under the designation of being "not for the sake of G‑d." The first is "not for His sake" (in a way that is totally self-centered) and is poison, while the second is "not for His sake" but (in a way that) one comes to be "for His sake." The third division is in the service of Torah and Mitzvahs "for the sake of G‑d," which means for the purpose of giving (emanating), and not to receive a reward. This work purifies "the desire to receive for oneself" and converts it into a "desire to give". This is called "a desire to give in order to give." The fourth division is the highest level: "to receive in order to give."

According to the above, it is possible to understand the three types of trees, which are brought in the Holy Or Hachaim. The first are the non-fruit-bearing trees. This is the tree which only "receives for the sake of receiving for itself", but it does not produce fruit. The second is the tree, which produces fruit; this is the "desire to give for the sake of giving", since a fruit represents giving to another, as one gets pleasure from its fruits. This is a tree, which produces fruit. The third is the fruit-bearing tree, where the taste of the tree and fruit are the same. This is to "receive for the sake of giving", since the "desire to receive" is the "tree", and the "fruit" is the "desire to give". A tree whose taste is the same as its fruit represents "receiving for the sake of giving", for even the "desire to receive" has acquired the "form" of "giving".

This is comparable to the teaching with regard to marriage, that if a man is prestigious, and the bride gives him something of value for the sake of marriage and he speaks the words of betrothal to her, they are married (even though normally the man must be the giver of something of value, since with a very prestigious person, even the act of receiving the object provides a pleasure for the gift giver, equivalent to the prestigious person actually giving to the bride).

This is the "form" that will be after the resurrection of the dead.

This is the "form" that will be after the resurrection of the dead. It is the "refined form" at the completion of the extraction of the sparks, as it was prior to the sin (of Adam and Eve). This is what our sages meant (end of Tractate Kesuvos), "Rabbi Chiya Bar Ashi said in the name of Rav: in the future, the non fruit-bearing trees in the land of Israel will produce fruit, as the verse says, 'For the tree will bear its fruit, the date palm and the grapevine will give their strength'." Rashi explains that since it is written that the date palm and the grapevine will give their strength, we know it is a fruit-bearing tree; so why does the verse need to say that the tree will bear its fruit? We learn from this that even non fruit-bearing trees will produce fruit.

Excerpted by KabbalaOnline from a much longer transcript of a lecture given on Tu B'Shvat 5764 (2004). Translated by David Devor.

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