Torah as a Living Tree Metaphor
Proverbs (3:18) refers to wisdom as an eitz chayim, a living tree. This is a beautiful metaphor which the Sages then apply to the Torah. Like a tree, the divine message, the Torah, must be constantly nourished, it must breathe the air of its surroundings and be fed with its nutrients. It must get enough sunlight and have its branches tended. In return for proper care, the living tree gives the world its oxygen, without which none of us could remain alive. As Jews, the Torah supplies our oxygen and in order for it to remain a sustaining force we must take care of it and allow it to grow. Like a tree, lock it up in a dark room and it will begin to wither.
Rabbi Zev Farber, Ph.D., Avraham Avinu is My Father: Thoughts on Torah, History, and Judaism (TheTorah.Com, 2013).