Movement 1: Sacredness and vegetation / Sacralità e vegetazione

"The Song of the Plants", from Rabbi Nachman from Breslav to Naomi Sherzer


In the Jewish tradition, the Tu Bishvat, or “Festivity of the Trees”, at the end of January is the occasion to challenge the harshness of winter, celebrate nature’s vitality and fruitfulness, and to admire the articulate relationship between man and environment. All those aspects, related to the mythical and spiritual concept of the sacredness of the Land of Israel, are rooted in an antique tradition expressed in Deuteronomy: 20, 19 “When thou shalt besiege a city […], thou shalt not destroy the trees”. A similar concept is announced hundreds years later in a mysterious text, called Perek Shira, imbedded as part of the Tu Bishvat synagogue recitation. At the beginning of the 19th century, the famous Hassidic Rebbe, Nachman from Breslav, meditated intensely about the insolvable bonds existing between human being and the plant’s world. In his book Likkutei Moharan he persuades his disciples: “You should know that every plant and plant/ has its own and specific melody”. In the seventies, this Nigun becomes a very popular and beloved song by the talented Israeli chansonnière Naomi Shemer, born in kibbutz Degania, near the Lake of Galilee. The song is sung in public, at the Shabbat table, in religious and secular occasions, embracing biblical memory, spiritual history and a new musical approach.


Breslav; Hasidism; Tu Bishvat; Festivity of the Trees; Israeli music

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