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8 Facts About the Hebrew Month of Shevat

8 Facts About the Hebrew Month of Shevat

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Jews around the world usher in the new month of Shevat today. While not as well known as the Hebrew months of Tishrei or Nissan, when we celebrate the High Holidays and Passover, Shevat is a month rich in symbolism and meaning.

1.It’s the Eleventh Month in Torah

(Source: http://sweaters-cocoa-and-snow.tumblr.com)
(Source: http://sweaters-cocoa-and-snow.tumblr.com)

The Torah doesn’t give names to the months of the year. Instead, it calls Nissan, the month of spring, the first month. Counting from Nissan, then, makes Shevat the 11th month.

2. It’s All Babylonian to Me:

(Source: http://imgkid.com/rain-gif.shtml)
(Source: http://imgkid.com/rain-gif.shtml)

The name first appears in the Book of Zechariah, and is believed to be a loan word from ancient Akkadian. Related to the word lashing, the name refers to the heavy rains of the season as winter draws to a close. Rain, in Jewish tradition, is tied with blessings.

(The reason why we use Babylonian names is explained here.)

3. The Age of Aquarius

(Source: http://www.yadvashem.org/IMAGE_TYPE/899.jpg)
(Source: http://www.yadvashem.org/IMAGE_TYPE/899.jpg)

The sign for the month of Shevat is Aquarius, the waterbearer. This further ties Shevat to the rainy season, reflecting the Biblical verse, “Water will flow from his wells.”

4. Make Like a Tree

(Source: http://count.cernin.net)
(Source: http://count.cernin.net)

Shevat is well known as the month of Tu B’Shevat, the new years for trees, but according to the Mishnah, there’s an opinion that the new year should be celebrated on the first of the month, not the 15th.

5. The King’s Speech

(Image: James Tissot )
(Image: James Tissot )

The month of Shevat was when Moses prepared for his passing in the following month on 7 Adar. He took the opportunity to rebuke the children of Israel, as recorded in Deuteronomy. Out of honor for the Jewish people, Moses saved these words of rebuke and heartfelt criticism until right before he passed away.

6. How Do You Say Abraham in Chinese?

(Source: Flickr )
(Source: Flickr )

The Midrash explains that Moses spent the month of Shevat translating the entire Torah into the 70 major languages then spoken.

This teaches an incredibly important lesson: Every Jew has a connection to the Torah, even one who can not read it in its original tongue.

7. A Major Epoch in Chabad’s History:

Two significant events in the life of the Rebbe--Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory--took place in the month of Shevat.

10 Shevat is both the date when his father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory--the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe—passed away in 1950 and the date a year later when the Rebbe assumed leadership of the movement.

22 Shevat, 1988, is the day that the Rebbe’s wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson passed away.

8. A Hidden Message:

(Source: tumblr)
(Source: tumblr)

We don’t know who first gave the month this special acrostic, but the word Shevat can stand for the Hebrew express Shenishma Besurot Tovot, that we should be blessed to share good tidings.

How appropriate in the month that celebrates the blessings of abundance, new life, and importance of the Torah.

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Don D Weeki Wachee FL January 17, 2018

First month is NOT Nissan - it's Aviv. Nissan is the babylonian name for the first month. It is actually called "Aviv" (אָבִיב), and can be found in scripture in Shmot (Exodus) 13:4 and 23:15.

Shalom! Reply

Karen Landry Canada January 21, 2015

Thank you This information c/w explanation increases to my own understanding of the 'order of things' and a link to tradition too.

My own birthday is also approaching at the beginning of February. I also understand that according to Celtic folklore, Feb. 2 is the first day of Beltaine when hibernating creatures begin to stir and this is considered a prelude to the arrival of Spring. Reply

Amanda High Peak Derbyshiire UK January 17, 2018
in response to Karen Landry:

My birthday is 3 days later February 4 although where I live is snowing at the moment I know it is the beginning or about to be spring. Reply

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