Tree Bracha at Forest Where Frierdiker Rebbe Sought Relief

Boys of Moscow’s Marina Roshcha shul visited the Skolniki forest where the Frierdiker Rebbe went for fresh air after undergoing oppression by Soviet authorities 97 years ago. They were addressed by Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and Rabbi Mendel Reices of Postville, Iowa.

An exciting and impressive event took place this week in the ‘Skolniki’ park in Moscow, on the occasion of Birkas Ha’ilanos. The children of Moscow, together with the students of the praying group Tehillim group and Avos Ubanim in the main shul ‘Marina Roshcha’ in the center of Moscow, participated in the special occasion with the participation of the Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.

The event took place on Pesach, near the fruit trees of the park, in part of a unique tradition that takes place every year in the community.

Since this year was a leap year, and in the month of spring the fruit trees were already with the leaves in Moscow, this year the ceremony was held in the Skolniki park in the capital Moscow, which was visited 97 years ago by the Frierdiker Rebbe after he was saved from being killed during his activities for the Jewish communities, and stopping the government from harassing the Jews of Russia, the Rebbe wrote in his diary: “And I think that the good air and the moonlight will calm me down, and I say I will go for a walk… and I will go to the Skolniki forest.”

Many saw this as a special opportunity to study the mesiras nefesh of the Rebbeim and to learn from their holy legacy, a legacy of true self-sacrifice.

At the beginning of the journey, fascinating things the children heard from the gabbai of the central synagogue, who expressed his appreciation to the management of the park and the cooperation for the success of the journey.

The guest from Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Olidort, shared with the many people his experiences as a Hasidic Jewish boy during his childhood years in Moscow. Also, the Shliach in the Skolniki neighborhood, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Bekerman, greeted the participants with a welcome, and told about his childhood years ago, over twenty years, When he also participated in the prayer and study programs at the Marina Roshcha Synagogue, an activity that is growing from year to year and generation to generation. His father-in-law Rabbi Mendel Reitzes from Postville in the state of Iowa in the USA also gave a short speech to the many children.

At the appointed time, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, appeared, and the children greeted him with Passover songs. In his moving words to the children and parents, the Chief Rabbi emphasized the importance of thanking God for creating such a beautiful world, and the demand to put effort in learning, especially in the young years, to grow like fruit trees “spiritual fruit trees.”

At the end of the speech, the children emotionally recited with saying Tehillim, and the twelve pesukim chosen by the Rebbe. The highlight of the event was of course when the students greeted the Birkas Ha’ilanos – the rare bracha that is said once a year, and the people greeted with joy, and blessed word for word, together with the educator Rabbi Eliyahu Dickstein, and danced in honor of Pesach.

At the end of the trip, special prizes were given out to each one by the chief rabbi of Russia. The children enjoyed special activities, songs and dances, and the atmosphere was uplifting and happy.

Many parents noted the importance of the ceremony for their children. “This is a wonderful opportunity for them to learn about the special blessing and the importance of giving thanks to the Creator of the world” said one of the fathers, “the children really enjoyed the class, and I’m sure they will remember it for a long time”.

The Birkas Ha’ilanos event on Pesach has become a special tradition in Moscow.

This is a wonderful way to celebrate Chol Hamoed, to tour nature, to learn about thanking Hashem, and make a kiddush Hashem to thousands of visitors around, who were watching the children blessing and thanking Hashem.

Photo: Levi Nazarov

YouTube player

In keeping in line with the Rabbonim's policies for websites, we do not allow comments. However, our Rabbonim have approved of including input on articles of substance (Torah, history, memories etc.)

We appreciate your feedback. If you have any additional information to contribute to this article, it will be added below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

advertise package