Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees

Why do trees celebrate their New Year so much later than Rosh-Hashanah? It has to do with the rainy season in Israel, which commences with the festival of Sukkot. It takes four months for the rains to saturate the soil, nurture the trees and coax them into producing fruit. This is important to know if you are planning to give your tithes of fruits, as is done in the Land of Israel, because the required tithes vary from year to year. It’s also important if you are a tree and looking for something to celebrate.

We humans can also celebrate along with the trees. After all, the Torah says, “Man is a tree of the field.” We are nurtured by deep roots, as far back as Abraham and Sarah; we reach upwards to the heavens while standing firmly on the ground; and when we do all this right, we produce fruits that benefit the world—namely, our good deeds.

Things to do:

Eat some fruit on this day. Best if you can get some of those fruits for which Israel is famous: olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates. The seven species, which also represent attributes in our lives, are humanity (wheat), passion (barley), joy (grapes), intimacy (figs), action (pomegranates), struggle (olives) and tranquility (dates).

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About Gabriele Lange

Multi Media Consultant in SF Bay Area WebDesign at City College 2008-2011 Professional Photographer since 1998 Lived in Berlin, Germany between 1987-1994
This entry was posted in Congregation News, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Learning and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees

  1. Bonnie Gratch Lindauer says:

    Terrific images and lovely description of Tu B’Shvat!

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