One who goes out during the month of Nissan and sees trees starting to blossom recites the blessing: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Shelo Chiser Be’Olamo Kelum U’Vara Vo Beriyot Tovot Ve’Ilanot Tovot Le’hanot Bahem Beneh Adam”.
This year (5779), Rosh Chodesh Nissan will fall out this coming Shabbat. We shall discuss the laws of reciting the Blessing of the Trees on Shabbat in a following Halacha.
Our Sages established this blessing because the budding of the trees is an occurrence of renewal that happens once a year when a person sees trees that have already dried up and Hashem revitalizes them and makes them blossom anew (Rabbeinu Aharon Ha’Levi in his Sefer Pekudat Halviyim, Berachot 43b). This blessing is recited once a year and no more.
If the Blossoming has Concluded
If the blossoming has already concluded, i.e. buds (or flowers) no longer appear on the tree and the tree has already begun to produce fruits as is common among almond trees and the like, the Blessing of the Trees may not be recited on such trees. Even if fruits have not yet begun to emerge, as long as no buds are present on the tree, the blessing may not be recited, for this blessing was established to be recited on the blossoming of trees which is only when the buds emerge. Nevertheless, if a tree has begun producing some of its fruits but some of its flowers and buds are still present, the Blessing of the Trees may be recited on such a tree.
Women and the Blessing of the Trees
Women should also recite the Blessing of the Trees during the month of Nissan. Although they are exempt from other time-bound Mitzvot, such as the Four Species on the holiday of Sukkot, they should nevertheless recite the Blessing of the Trees. The reason for this is based on what the Sefer Turei Even (Megillah 20b) has written regarding the Mitzvah of bringing Bikurim (first fruits) to the Bet Hamikdash that women too are commanded to bring Bikurim to the Bet Hamikdash, for although Bikurim are not brought after Chanukah, this Mitzvah is still not considered time-bound because only a Mitzvah that cannot be performed at all times because of the essence of the Mitzvah is considered halachically time-bound. However, the fact that Bikurim are not brought past Chanukah is only because the fields are usually barren of fruits at this time; nevertheless, were there fruits to be found in the field, this would also be an appropriate time to bring Bikurim as well. Thus, this is not considered a time-bound Mitzvah.
The same would apply regarding the Blessing of the Trees, for, in essence, this blessing could be recited at any time; the reason why it is only recited during the month of Nissan is because that is when trees usually begin to blossom. Thus, the time-frame here is not the cause of this blessing and is merely a prerequisite to recite the blessing. Women should therefore recite the Blessing of the Trees as well. We shall discuss some of the laws involved with this blessing in the next Halacha, G-d-willing.