|Source (Hebrew)||Translation (English)|
בּוֹנֵה צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם
וּמְכוֹנֵן מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל,
הַשְׁקִיפָה מִמְּעוֹן קָדְשֶׁךָ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם
וּבָרֵךְ אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל
וְאֶת הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּ לָנוּ
כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ.
Our father in Heaven,
builder of Tsiyon and Yerushalayim,
and founder of the kingdom of Yisra’el,
look down from your holy domain in Heaven,
and bless your people Yisra’el,
and the land that you presented to us
that you promised to our ancestors.
רְצֵה ה׳ אַרְצֶךָ
תֵּן טַל לִבְרָכָה
וְגִשְׁמֵי רָצוֹן הוֹרֵד בְּעִתָּם
לְרַוּוֹת הָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַעֲמָקֶיהָ
וּלְהַשְׁקוֹת בָּהֶם כָּל צֶמַח, עֵץ, וּנְטִיעוֹתֵינוּ
הַעֲמֵק שָׁרְשֵׁיהֶם וְגָדֵל פְּאֵרָם,
לְמַעַן יִפְרְחוּ לְרָצוֹן
בְּתוֹך שְׁאַר עֲצֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
Take pleasure in your land
and bestow abundance upon it
from the goodness of your lovingkindness —
Give dew for a blessing
and cause The girsah we were given provides, “לִרְווֹת”, however “לְרַוּוֹת” suggested by Zeev Kainan recalls the Birkat Hashanim in the Sepharadi nusaḥ: “תֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה עַל כָּל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה. וְרַוֵּה פְּנֵי תֵבֵל וְשַׂבַּע אֶת הָעולָם כֻּלּו מִטּוּבָךְ.” beneficial rains to precipitate in their season
to satiate the mountains of Yisra’el and her valleys
and to water upon them, every shrub, (and) tree, and our plantings.
Make deep their roots and grow their crown
so that they blossom according to your will
among all the trees in Yisra’el
for blessing and for splendor.
וַחֲזֵק יְדֵי כָּל אַחֵינוּ
הָעֲמֵלִים בַּעֲבוֹדַת אַדְמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ
בָּרֵךְ ה׳ חֵילָם
וּפֹעַל יָדָם תִּרְצֶה.
And strengthen the hands of all our comrades
who toil in the labor of the holy Earth,
and make her desolate areas fruitful.
Bless, YHVH, their might
and may the work of their hands be favored by you.
This is the תפילת הנוטע (Prayer for Planting [trees]) by Rabbi Ben-Zion Meir Ḥai Uziel. We have not been able to learn yet exactly where and when this prayer was written. There are two photographs I have seen of Rav Uziel participating in tree plantings, and he may have composed the prayer for either of them (or for one in which no photographer was present). One shows him in Kfar Yavetz in 1942.
Another is undated on Har Herzl, site of the JNF’s first forest project beginning in 1900. See below. (I’ve retouched the image, increasing it’s size and removing some text written above the ceremony shown). Perhaps it might be dated from the clothing of those present.:
There are several subtle variations of this prayer floating around the web. The most well known version is that circulated by the JNF. However, in her curriculum for teaching the prayer, Devorah Freedman includes a slightly different version. Unfortunately, we could not locate a manuscript presenting the prayer in its earliest form. However, the copy provided to Devorah Freedman cites her source as that of Mr. Ezra Barnea, of the Committee for the Publication of the Writings of Rabbi Uziel zt “l (Heichal Shlomo – Jerusalem). Freedman writes, “הערה חשובה: תפילת הנוטע אומצה ע”י קק”ל והם מחלקים אותה לנוטעים בט”ו בשבט. אולם, חשוב לדעת, כי במהלך ה’אימוץ’ הושמטו חלקים שונים מהתפילה המקורית ולכן חשוב להשתמש בטקסט המקורי.” (It is important to note that during the adoption of this prayer by קק״ל (the JNF) for distribution to planters on Tu biShvat, parts of the original prayer were omitted, so it is important to use the original text). The most significant of the variations concludes the same text the prayer begins with (“look down from your holy domain in Heaven and bless your people Yisra’el and the land that you presented to us that you promised to our ancestors”) emphasizing by repetition a religious Zionist and irredentist message. In our transcription above, we have hewed to the version provided by Mr. Barnea, but included the text “look down…” only at the beginning, since it seems unusual to us that the language of blessing found at the end of the prayer be superceded by anything other than an Amen, as found in every other teḥinah I have read.
“תְּפִילַּת הַנּוֹטֵעַ | Prayer for a Tree Planting in Israel, by Rav Ben-Tsiyon Meir Ḥai Uziel (before 1942)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
כַּוָּנָה לִפְנֵי עֲבוֹדָה בְּאַדְמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ | Kavvanah before working with the holy soil of Erets Yisrael, by Rabbi Shalom Ḥayyim Sharabi (ca. 1911)
תְּפִילַּת הַנּוֹטֵעַ | Prayer for a Virtual Tree Planting in Israel, by Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef She’ar Yashuv Cohen (2012)
תְּפִלָּה לָעֵצִים עַל ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Prayer for the Trees of Erets Yisrael on Tu Bishvat, by Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel (2011)
Opening Prayer on the Significance of Arbor Day, by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, J. Paul Williams, and Eugene Kohn (1951)