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Monday, February 10, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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15 Shevat - New Year for Trees
Jewish History

R. Nechemiah was a brilliant Torah scholar who lived in Dubrowna, a town in what is now Belarus. He was a disciple of the first three Rebbes of Chabad, R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi , R. DovBer of Lubavitch, and R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn of Lubavitch (who was also his first cousin through marriage). He kept a scholarly correspondence with R. Menachem Mendel, some of which is preserved in his book of responsa, Divrei Nechemiah.

R. Nechemiah was born on 15 Shevat in the year 5548 from Creation (1788), and passed away on his sixty-fourth birthday in 5612 (1852).

Link: Man Alive

Laws and Customs

Today is Tu BiShevat ("the 15th of Shevat") which marks the beginning of a "New Year for Trees." This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

Legally, the "New Year for Trees" relates to the various tithes that must be separated from produce grown in the Holy Land. We mark the day by eating fruit, particularly from the "Seven Kinds" that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates). On this day we remember that "Man is a tree of the field" (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.

Learn About Tu BiShevat

Tachnun is omitted from the prayer services today.

Daily Thought

You can choose to believe in a G‑d aloof from all things;
a distant G‑d that leaves you in the hands of so many worldly troubles.

Or you can put your trust in a G‑d who carries you as a nursing mother carries her suckling infant by her bosom;
as a father carries his child high upon his shoulders;
as an eagle carries its fledgling young upon its wings.

As large as your trust will be,
so will be the space that He will fill.