Shevat is the 11th month on the Jewish calendar counting from Nissan. The high point of the month is the holiday of 15 Shevat, known as the “New Year for Trees.” This is the day when the sap begins to rise in the fruit trees in Israel—the start of a new growing season. We mark the day by eating fruit, particularly from the “Seven Kinds” with which Israel is blessed (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates). On this day, we remember that “Man is a tree of the field” and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.

Shevat contains two important dates on the Chassidic calendar. The 10th of Shevat marks the anniversary of the passing, in 1950, of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory. On the same date, exactly one year later, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, assumed the mantle of leadership and became the seventh Rebbe. The 22nd of Shevat is the anniversary of the passing, in 1988, of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson.