Within the Tiferet exhibit, there is a collection of photos of the beautiful and colorful flora of Israel. As Spring approaches, both in Israel and at home, it seems like the perfect time to share this group of photos with you! Plants and flowers will soon be growing and blossoming again during aviv, Hebrew for Spring, the season of Passover, and the Omer.

Accompanying this post are nine photos of vibrant flowers, and enticing fruits and vegetables from Israel. Flowers certainly make the world more beautiful! The author Eckhart Tolle, in his book, A New Earth, says that in the course of human evolution, flowers played an essential part in the evolution of human consciousness. He says, “Flowers were most likely the first thing that human beings came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that were not linked to their survival. Flowers provided inspiration to countless artists, poets and mystics. Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature, connected to feelings of joy and love.”

In Israel, aviv occurs during the months of Adar, Nisan, Iyar, and Sivan, overlapping with Spring in the U.S. during the months of March, April & May. Aviv, in the Bible, refers to when the barley crop ripens, which occurs during Passover and the beginning of the period of the Omer. It is said that during the Omer, each day of the forty-nine day period contains a unique mix of the energies of the sefirot on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, including the energy of tiferet— magnificence, beauty, and radiance. Just as we are witnessing longer amounts of daylight, and new growth and re-awakening of the plants and flowers around us, Spring and the period of the Omer can also be a time for our own inner growth, access to more spiritual light, and connection with our souls. I’d like to share the following poem with you, which I wrote at the beginning of the Omer in April, 2016:

It’s the simple things in life that
mean the most to us.
When we join each other in song,
the song of the sages from years gone by,
we learn to live and love a life
that is free flowing and energetic.
We embrace change and live in the moment.
Many before us have done the same, and now
is a time for bringing to the forefront
ALL that illuminates the heart and soul
of our Being.

Simple things. Enjoying the beauty of nature. Spending time with your children, grandchildren, family, and friends. Doing what you love. As nature re-awakens, and the birds start singing, think about what makes your heart sing. What energizes you and is meaningful to you? What are you passionate about, what makes you lose track of time, and be in the moment? For me, it’s taking photos of all that I find beautiful. What are the things that do this for you? What is it that illuminates your heart and soul?

There is a special prayer recited upon smelling fragrant flowers, and becoming aware of being embraced by their beauty: Barukh Attah Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh ha-Olam, boray atsay b’samim. As the flowers begin to bloom, may you notice the tiferet, the beauty all around you, may you find meaning in the simple things in life, may you make time to do what you love, and may you pause to “stop and smell the flowers!”

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