Chicagoland Fruit Tree list for BIRKAS HA ILONOS‏

From the Chicago Center for Torah and Chessed
Below is an updated list of trees available to say Birchas Hailonos on. We are also enclosing a summary of the halachos pertaining to this special once- a – year bracha, prepared by Horav Doniel Neustadt.

Peterson Park

6040 N. Lawndale- Cherrick backyard. Blueberry bushes.

6137 N. Lawndale in backyard

6319 N. Central Park- 2 cherry trees, 2 pear trees, apple tree in backyard

Northeast corner of Monticello and Rosemont

6019 North St. Louis – blueberry bushes-can be seen from alley

West Rogers Park

2725 W. Birchwood in yard. Pear tree-can be seen from alley

2754 W. Estes pear tree and wild pear tree in yard

2841 W. Greenleaf- Schaffel backyard- apple tree

2848 Fargo cherry tree in yard. Blooms late May/early June

6630 N. Francisco in front yard

6704 N. Francisco apple tree in yard

6737 N. Francisco-cherry tree in yard

6742 N. Mozart. Liberman backyard. Pear tree, can be seen from alley.

6509 N. Whipple St. grapevine in backyard

6521 N. Sacramento- Friedman backyard. 3 apricot trees.

6534 N. Sacramento- apple tree in backyard.

6551 N. Mozart- pear tree in backyard

Next to Sephardic Center on Touhy. Pear tree.

2907 w morse – pear tree in back yard by the fence

Lincolnwood

One house south of Pratt, east side of Kimball at the alley. An apple tree is on privately owned property but large branches hang over the alley. Usually blooms late April to early May, with apples visible in June.

6649 N. St. Louis. Dauber frontyard. Edible berry tree. Flowers come at the end of Chodesh Nissan.

Skokie

Northwest corner (on parkway of Crain St.) of Crain and Hamlin- Greenberg

Southeast corner of Monticello and Crain. A few fruit trees.

Chicago Botanical Gardens

By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt

BIRKAS HA-ILANOS: THE BLESSING OVER TREES IN BLOOM

Rosh Chodesh Nissan marks the beginning of the season for Birkas ha-Ilanos – the blessing we recite upon seeing fruit trees in bloom. Since this blessing, which extols Hashem’s ongoing renewal of creation, is recited only once a year, its halachos are difficult to remember. Women, too, may recite this blessing since it is not considered a “time-related mitzvah” from which women are exempt.

THE TEXT OF THE BLESSING:

The text of the blessing, as quoted in all of the early sources, is as follows: Boruch ata Hashem Elokeinu melech haolam shelo chisar baolamo klum uvara vo beriyos tovos vilanos tovim lehanos bahem beni adam.

In several siddurim the word davar appears instead of the word klum. But since all of the early sources indicate that the original text had the word klum, not the word davar, and the reason for the change is unsubstantiated, it is, therefore, proper to follow the early sources and recite the word klum and not the word davar.

WHEN IS BIRKAS HA-ILANOS RECITED?

The l’chatchilah, preferred time to recite this blessing is immediately upon seeing a fruit tree in bloom during the month of Nissan. Most poskim agree that the halachah mentions Nissan since generally, that is the month in which trees begin to bloom. Accordingly, in an area where they start blooming in Adar, or where they do not bloom until Iyar or Sivan, the blessing should be recited in those months. In the countries where fruit trees blossom in Tishrei or Cheshvan, the blessing should be said at that time.

If a tree bloomed in Nissan, but one did not see it until later, he may recite the blessing the first time he sees the tree as long as the fruit of the tree has not yet ripened. Once the fruit has ripened, the blessing may no longer be said.

One who saw the trees in bloom during Nissan, but forgot or neglected to recite the blessing, may recite the blessing at a later date but only until the time that the fruit of the tree has begun to grow.

The blessing is said upon seeing the actual blooming (flowering) of the tree. The growth of leaves alone is not sufficient to allow one to recite the blessing.

Some poskim hold that this blessing should not be said on Shabbos and Yom Tov, since we are concerned that it may lead to shaking or breaking a branch off the tree. All other poskim who do not mention this concern, apparently do not forbid reciting this blessing on Shabbos and Yom Tov. It is customary, though, to recite the blessing only during the week, unless the last day of Nissan falls on Shabbos.

The blessing may be said at night.

WHICH TREES REQUIRE BIRKAS HA ILANOS?

Birkas ha-Ilanos is said only on fruit-bearing trees. If one mistakenly said the blessing on a barren tree, he need not repeat the blessing on a fruit-bearing tree.

The poskim debate whether one is allowed to say the blessing on a tree which has been grafted from two species, since the halachah does not permit such grafting. It is preferable not to make the blessing on such a tree.

Some acharonim prohibit the recitation of the blessing on an orlah tree. A tree is considered orlah for the first three years after it is planted. Many other poskim, however, permit reciting the blessing on an orlah tree.

During the year of shemittah in Eretz Yisrael, it is permitted to recite the blessing even on a tree which – in violation of the halachah – has been cultivated.

BIRKAS HA ILANOS – HIDDUR MITZVAH

There are several hiddurim mentioned in the poskim concerning this once-a-year mitzvah. According to the kabbalah, especially, this blessing has special significance. Among the hiddurim are:

The blessing should be recited on two or more trees. No blessing is said on a single tree. Although the two trees do not have to be from two different species, several poskim mention that the more trees the better. Indeed, l’chatchilah the blessing should be said on trees in an orchard that is planted outside the city limits.

The blessing should be recited in the presence of a minyan followed by Kaddish. Before the blessing is recited, V’yehi noam followed by Hallelukah hallelu Keil min ha-shamayim is said.

The blessing should be recited at the earliest possible time, which is on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, unless it falls on Shabbos or it is raining.

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