I have read the fascinating idea expressed by the Maharal commenting on Deuteronomy 20:19 about the similarities and contrasts between a man and a tree. In particular: A tree's roots are below, and it draws its sustenance from the physical earth, whereas man is an "upside-down" tree, and his roots are above, from under the Divine Throne.

I would be really glad to know in which work it appears, and to be able to find it using an exact reference. Thank you very much.

  • Hi Ros and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Great to have you learning here with us. Please check out the Help Center, because Mi Yodeya might be different in their code of conduct than other StackExhange-sites. Regarding the location of this statement. There are a few: Tiferes Yisrael, chapter 7, 38 & Netzach Yisrael, chapter 12.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 17:55
  • See for example: sefaria.org/…
    – Shmuel
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


It is in Netzach Yisroel 7:26

כי באמת האדם נקרא "עץ השדה", דכתיב (דברים כ, יט) "כי האדם עץ השדה", רק שהוא אילן הפוך, כי העץ שורשו למטה תקוע בארץ, ואילו האדם שרשו למעלה, כי הנשמה הוא שורש שלו, והיא מן השמים. והידים הם ענפי האילן, הרגלים הם ענפים על ענפים, גופו עיקר האילן. ולמה הוא אילן הפוך, כי העץ שורשו למטה, כי העץ חיותו מן האדמה, והאדם חיות נשמתו מן השמים

Because truthfully we call a man "a tree of the field", as it writes, (Devarim 20:19) "Is the tree of the field a man", only he is an inverted tree, because the tree's roots are stuck in the ground, and the person was born above, because the soul is his root and it is from heaven. And the hands are the branches of the tree, the feet are branches upon branches, the body is the main part of the tree. And why is it an upside-down tree, because the tree has its roots below, because the tree lives from the earth, and man lives from heaven...

However, it is worth noting that he brings this idea in numerous places.

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