A Tree is Not Just a Tree

   Poetree by Shlomo Cohen


Just about a week before Xmas

When the goyim celebrate JC

They go to any old parking lot

And buy just any old tree.


Had the Torah told us to get one

That’s enough of a reason you see,

Because then it would  be a Mitzva

Then a tree is not just a tree.


The Torah with myriad details

As Mesora was given to me,

When passed from parent to child

A tree becomes really a tree.


We would have a Maseches               Mishnayos

With Gemora as deep as the sea

Ten Simonim in our Shulchan Aruch

For this is to be a Mitzva tree.


We’re accused of being pedantic

Nitpicking as can be,

But we couldn’t possibly settle

For less than a perfect tree.


If we buy it with care and devotion

As each Mitzva, done carefully

It could bring Geula Shleima

Perhaps because of a tree.


Twenty Amos too tall

Ten Tefachim too wee

The search is on for perfection

For a tree is not just a tree.


The trunk may not be bent over

We’d count needles in clusters of three

The top would have to be perfect

‘cause this isn’t any ole tree.


It can’t be fashioned from plastic

On this the Rishonim agree

For then it couldn’t be kosher

And that is hardly a tree.


You may not save it from last year

Even if you got it for free

For that would surely be Yoshon

We can’t settle for just any tree.


Pine, fir spruce and then hemlock

We must search diligently

To get the species in preferred    order

When we set out to buy our tree.


It would have to come from a Pardes

With a Hechsher, a known pedigree

The grower a Yorei Shomayim

This has to be quite a tree.


The chopper would be Shomer Shabbos

His axe as sharp as can be

Only eighteen minutes to fell it

For a tree to be more than a tree.


Of course we must say a Bracha

Maybe two, perhaps even three

Which we say when doing a Mitzva

Since this is a Mitzva tree.


Place an angel on top of the crown

There’s no such Hiddur for me

The top must remain whole and perfect

To be a Halachic tree.




Every evening a new light is lit

But we don’t use electricity

Little lamps of olive oil only

On our tree that is really a tree.


I think there’s a Chasidische Minhag

Regarding “Etz Chaim Hee”

The Mishpacha could gather together

To sing ‘round the beautiful tree.


Too many gifts raise up the branches

Decorations hanging too heavily

Either way would render it Posul

‘cause this isn’t any old tree


When the Yom Tov is over and finished

Trashing it can’t possibly be

We’d save it to burn with the Chometz

For this was a Mitzva tree.


If we would have such a Mitzva

We’d surely do differently

Halacha would certainly tell us

That this tree is more than a tree


I thank Hashem in my Brachos

For the difference ‘tween a non-Jew

and me

I’d rather stick with my Torah

And not worry about some old tree


For that would be 614 Commandments

One too many for me

So therefor we have no such Mitzva

  And therefor we have no tree.


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