An Israeli Prayer for The Planting of a Tree


WE WALKED across the harsh countryside of Neot Kedimim, a Biblical Landscape Reserve sprawling between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

There are highlands and valleys, places where rain seldom touches the earth, and it looks much as it did more than three thousand years ago when the Children of Israel first wandered across the terrain.

We were each given a small olive tree to plant in soil that feels the brunt of an unforgiving sun but seldom the cool of an evening shade.

Trees on a barren landscape are precious.

They are hope.

They are life.

After the planting, this was the prayer given for and by us all:

Heavenly Father,

Thou who buildest Zion and Jerusalem

Take pleasure in Thy land

And bestow upon it Thy goodness

And Thy grace.


Give dew for a blessing

And cause beneficent rains

To fall in their season

To satiate the mounts of Israel

And her valleys

And to water thereon every plant and tree.


And these saplings

Which we plant before Thee this day,

Make deep their roots and wide their crown,

That they may blossom forth in grace

Amongst all the trees in Israel,

For good and for beauty.


And strengthen the hands of all our brethren,

Who toil to revive the sacred soil

And make fruitful its waters.

Bless, O Lord, their might,

And may the work of their hands

Find favour before Thee.


Look down from Thy holy habitation,

From Heaven,

And bless this land

That it may flow again with milk and honey.



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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Standing on a harsh and barren landscape, beneath an unforgiving sun, it was easy to understand the value of a tree in Israeli soil. Olive trees are precious. They bring forth olives and shade.

  • jack43

    One of the most fascinating aspects of the conflict in the Middle East is the manner in which the Arabic-Palestinians destroy the gardens, the trees, and the wells established by the Jews when Israel cedes land to them. What do you suppose they are attempting to say?

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Jack, I’m not sure what they’re trying to say, but their actions break your heart. We went into Palestine on several occasions, and the towns are dirty and crumbling, the streets are littered with trash, and the people live in poverty. They have nothing and destroy what they have.

      • Darlene Jones

        How much of this do you think is due to lack of education? Or is the destruction born of hatred?

        • Many years ago I read The Haj by Leon Uris. The story involves a Palestinian Arab family and is told from the viewpoint of the youngest son and takes place during the British Mandate of Palestine. If I remember correctly, one of the reasons for neglecting the land is a general attitude that it is not their land, that they are waiting for the return of that which belongs to them, and therefore they see no need to transform it. And their hate for everything Jew.

          Even now, instead of investing in infrastructure the Palestinian government would rather spend resources on fighting Israel.

          Anyway, I remember about twenty years ago I lived and worked on a kibbutz in Israel. I did it for about a year and during that time I took a trip to the Sinai in Egypt. Specifically, Dahab. We heard the diving was excellent there, plus I’ve always wanted to explore the Red Sea. So, we crossed the border at Eilat and took a precarious two-hour bus ride without air-conditioning and lots of dust. We were surrounded by mostly desert and gravel, but every now and then we’d pass a “pitstop” where you could buy a coke and suspicious-looking food. These places were derelict with heaps of garbage stacked up behind them. We decided not to chance it with the food, and held out until we could reach Dahab. We stayed there a week, living on pancakes and pizza (yes, there was a reason for this).

          The point is, I saw no attempts at toiling the land there, either. I don’t know if it is a general attitude, a cultural thing or whether the landscape is just too inhospitable. But then, look what the Jews did to Israel. It too was inhospitable and they worked the land to make it what it is today.

          • Caleb Pirtle

            That’s great information, Wolf, and I believe every word of it. No one understood the plight, the circumstance, or the historical perspective of Israel better than Leon Uris. I read his books look ago. It is obvious I need to read them again. So much time has passed. There is so much I have forgotten.

          • He is an excellent writer. I recently bought Exodus and is now reading it. Typical of me, I bought the book because of the research that went into it and the circumstances surrounding its publishing, plus I like the story of Israel’s birth.

          • Caleb Pirtle

            I have the music from the movie Exodus and play it in the background when I’m writing. If it doesn’t stir your soul, then you have no soul left.

          • I love listening to soundtracks from specific movies as I too write with music on in the background. I’ll check this one out. Thanks, Caleb.

          • Caleb Pirtle

            Woelf: Can you send me a large book cover image of “The Seals of Abgal.” I’ll promote the novel on Authors Showcase. Email to Thanks.

          • That’s mighty kind of you, Caleb, thanks. The email is on its way.

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