There was once a Jewish farmer who owned a tree, and wanted to sell the rights to the fruits - without selling the tree. He hit a challenge, because in Jewish law we've got a principal "a transaction over something that has not yet come into existence, is simply invalid." So he could not sell the fruits as they had not yet blossomed, and he certainly cannot sell his entire tree (he does not want to part with it).
The Talmud, the record of Jewish law and tradition, offers the following solution. "Sell the part of the tree which bears the fruit." It is currently in existence and transferable, and then anything which emerges from it will belong to the buyer.
In 'Chassidic self-help', this scenario and solution are used as a brilliant lesson to one who is attempting to become a better Jew (and also a message to anyone trying to change for the better). This thought is inspired by the recent holiday 'Tu B'shvat'.
The 'sale' is our continual attempt to 'transfer' ourselves to G-dliness and goodness. The tree represents you and your core character. Your innate, inborn personality. The unique way in which you think and feel. That is who you really are. That cannot be 'sold' very easily. In fact, that can hardly ever be 'sold'. We can almost never guarantee that our core character and personality will change for the better and stay that way. It is just not realistic.
Your fruits are your actions. The things which your 'tree' bears. There is a challenge here as well. How can I guarantee my actions to G-d? Who knows what will be tomorrow? Life is full of ups and downs and "I cannot make a transaction over something which is yet to come into existence!"
The Talmud's advice gives us penetrating insight into what we can do to guarantee a 'sale' and become a better person. "Sell the part of the tree which bears the fruit." This refers to parts of your core character which control your actions. Think about it, what part of you is the life force behind all of what you do?
I would suggest it is your passion. Passion is really made up of two components. Inspiration and motivation. Take an athlete for example, who is so inspired with purpose and motivated, that we can literally guarantee that they'll keep their exercise regimen and schedule. They've 'sold' the part of their tree - they've created a passion, which bears fruit - their regimen and schedule.
It is in our hands to get inspired and motivated towards Jewish life. It is not rocket science... Come for Shabbat dinner, make a coffee/study date with Rabbi Mendy or Sara, light Shabbat candles, pray the Shema daily, commit 5 minutes a day for a little bit of study... these easy actions will end up in a passion for Jewish life. That passion is actually part of our tree and within our capacity to create ('sell'). And that passion will bear fruit. With time we will become unstoppable, and virtually guarantee that that we will become a better person, producing fruits of goodness, G-dliness and a strong commitment to Judaism.
Shabbat Shalom!! We hope to see you for Shabbat dinner tomorrow at our home!