Kabbalistic Tu Bishvat Seder

For Jewish mystics, nature is a sacred text.

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Nature is Like Torah

This fundamentally sacred view of nature renders it comparable to the Torah itself. For the kabbalist, the Torah is not merely an account of the sacred history of Israel and its divinely mandated laws. It is a primary manifestation of divine revelation. All of the secrets and mysteries of the cosmos and the inner workings of the Godhead are somehow contained within it. However, it is a cipher, which only yields its concealed meanings to those who hold the keys of divine gnosis, the kabbalists, who through contemplation and mystical experience have gained access to the symbol system that opens the Torah's deeper levels of meaning.

For the kabbalist, nature parallels the Torah. The very same secrets that are concealed within the quintessential sacred text may be learned through directly contemplating aspects of nature. The structure of different kinds of fruit, the growing patterns of trees, the habits of birds, indeed all natural phenomena are, in essence, aspects of a divine epiphany that proclaims the truth of God's existence.

However, here it should be added that the kabbalist's position is not identical to that of medieval religious philosophers, like Maimonides, who also viewed nature as a source for knowledge of God. In their view, the knowledge of the wondrous construction of nature and its laws led to an appreciation for its Creator. Here, knowledge of God is theosophical. It regards nature as a symbolic representation of the hidden divine realm and not merely as an immaculately designed product of divine engineering.

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Rabbi Miles Krassen

Rabbi Miles Krassen, PhD., is a teacher, author, scholar in the fields of comparative mysticism and the World's Wisdom Traditions, and musician. He serves as Rabbi of Rain of Blessings, a non-profit organization for disseminating mystical Jewish teachings based on the spiritual insights of early Hasidism and Kabbalah.