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Tu B’Shevat

Tu B’Shevat

New Year for Trees

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When’s the last time you wished a tree Happy New Year? The 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat is a great opportunity. It’s known as Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees.

Why do trees celebrate their New Year so much later than ours? 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

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.

Traditional Observances:

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 blessing on fruit:

Ba-ruch atah Ado-nai, Elo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam, borei pri ha-etz.

[Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.]

If tasting a fruit for the first time in its season, recite the Shehecheyanu blessing before saying the fruit blessing:

Ba-ruch a-tah Ado-nai, Elo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam, she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-ye-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.

[Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.]

Some have the custom to eat carob. The master Kabbalist Arizal would eat fifteen types of fruit on this day!

Click here for more on Tu B’Shevat, including insights on its mystical significance.

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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Discussion (9)
January 9, 2014
Fruit from Israel
I have eaten a lot of fruit sent to the US from Israel. It has been wonderful.

Thank you to the trees.
David N. Freeman
Loxahatchee
January 23, 2013
Torah trumps science (again)
I have a small orchard, and recently I was taught by an expert to feed my trees in late January. Gee - a nice meal and a blessing does sound like a great way to start the year, for both tree and farmer.
Anonymous
Indiana
February 8, 2012
the Pine Tree
The pine is an evergreen that doesn't drop its needles as do leaves that are deciduous in fall. I always think of pine in terms of what we pine for, as in the English term for longing that is tinged with sorrow. As in a memory of someone beloved who has departed. So in the vision above, which I come to now, my take on this, and this is surely, always personal, is that the beautiful man can represent G_d, or something very beautiful, as in good. And no, the tree remains, and will remain, as evergreen itself seems to connote this, Ever Green. And so for memories, for what we pine for, and so for that very pointed tree, that stands tall, towards sky, and is also redolent of forest with its deep fragrance of pine cone, and needles. We need EL. And EL needs us.

In autumn in New England the splendid change of color in the trees is such that I raced to a tree some years ago, and hugged it. Then I flung myself on my bed inside, crying with the beauty of that tree, and that day in its splendor
ruth housman
marshfield hills, ma
February 7, 2012
The Dream
Perhaps you have followed Torah teachings, studied long and hard, overcome weaknesses and reached a level of spirituality that surprises even you. Yet, you fear that temptation and persons that you may be drawn to could influence you to err in your ways. Being concerned about this says that you are probably more developed than you may realize and perhaps you should listen to that voice within. Everybody faces the same fears and challenge from day to day. You're not alone in this.
Anonymous
Oakland, CA
February 7, 2012
Tu B'Shevat
I am so feeling this holiday. I still talk to trees, a joy brought forth from my childhood when my gradfather and I would go to the park to get spring water. We would talk to the trees and birds and flowers--and name them. Those were joyful days of childhood.
This holiday, Tu B'shevat is a beautiful tribute to the L-d's bounty. Be blessed.
Renelda Moorehead
New London, Ct.
August 16, 2011
Tu B'Shevat
When does it actually start? sundown night before??
Bob
san diego, CA
January 21, 2011
Many years ago the L-rd show me a vision. In the vision I saw and understood that I was a giant of a tree from the pine family. It was the biggest tree I have ever seen, reaching very high up towards the sky.
A beautiful man came along. I asked him if he was going to cut the tree down. I was worried. After a pause he said "no".
I have never fully understood that vision. Perhaps some of the readers might, so I shared it.
Anonymous
anywhere, earth
January 19, 2011
Let the trees celebrate
Let's give G-d our thanks for having trees to enjoy the grace of G-d!
Pablo Leon Silva
Quito, Ecuador
January 18, 2011
Trees New Year
"It's also important if you are a tree and looking for something to celebrate." Such fine sense of humor! Really wonderful at a time when obscene talk and crass behavior is presented by the secular media as hilarious and smart. Certainly, the path of the just is filled with true joy!
Happy New Year to all trees, human and vegetable!
Maria
New York, NY