“If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them, I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit.” Rashi explains that the trees of the field are barren trees that in the future will bear fruit. Seemingly, all trees bear fruit, although some are inedible, such as pinecones and acorns. Is the blessing then that all trees will eventually bear edible fruits, like olives and dates?
Or does it mean that one day humanity will develop and learn to extract benefit from everything until there will be nothing that ‘does not bear fruit’. Earthquakes, volcanoes and hail are natural phenomena whose benefit we are as yet unable to appreciate. Sometimes we encounter a person who is known as someone who only causes damage, along with opinions, states of mind and philosophies that appear only to do harm. But the world moves on. From many things once thought to be harmful, we have now learned to derive benefit and blessings.
The first person who discovered oil in his field probably thought that the dirty, slimy, smelly substance was no more than an impediment to growing his crops. In time, however, its benefits were discovered, as was the case with the minerals in the Dead Sea. Even weeds have been proven to be a source of important medications.
The legends of the sages tell a story of how King David discovered the benefit in a living being he had held in contempt. One day, King David was sitting in his garden when he saw a wasp devour a spider. He said: Lord of the universe, what benefit do these creatures bring to your world. The wasp makes no honey and the spider weaves all year, yet produces nothing. Hashem said: David, although you mock my creations, the day will come when you will need them.
When David was hiding in a cave from King Saul’s wrath, Hashem sent a spider to weave a web at the entrance to the cave. When Saul saw the web, he said: No one could have entered here, because he would have torn the web asunder. Saul left and did not enter the cave. When David emerged from the cave and saw the spider, he kissed it and said: Blessed is the One that created you and blessed are you.
“This is how nature was founded. At the start of creation, there was nothing wrong with anything and only sin caused things to change. In the future, when sin is completely eradicated, the curse will be abolished and every tree will give fruit” (Eretz Yehuda).
“And all creatures will see You […] and all will be bound together, carrying out Your will wholeheartedly […] and everything You have created will know You have created it and all who breathe will say: Hashem the G-d of Israel is King …” (from the Rosh Hashanah prayers).
Rabbi Itzik Amitai is the Rosh Yeshiva of Har Shalom Chomesh, in the yishuv of Eshtamoah, in the Southern Hebron Hills County