Happy Tu B’Shvat!
This Sunday night marks the starts Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat, or the 15th of Shevat, the New Year for Trees.
According to tradition, Tu B’Shvat is the day when all the rain and nutrients have been fully absorbed into the earth and have begun to climb the tree in the hopes of becoming fruit. This is the point in the year at which our sages established that any fruit which blossomed before the 15th of Shevat is the produce of the previous year, anything after belongs to the “new year.”
While the New Year is specifically for the trees, we attach special significance to this holiday because of a verse found in Devarim, ” For Man is [compared to] the tree of the field.”
The Man-Tree comparison is a deep-rooted idea which has many offshoots. Just as a tree needs to have sturdy roots to grow strong and tall – we need to tend to our roots as people – namely our faith and commitment to G‑d. Just like a tree continues to grow with each year and bears many fruits— so too we continue to learn the Torah and perform good deeds and mitzvot.
One custom that is widely celebrated on Tu B’shavt is the eating of fruits – and fruits from Israel in particular – and to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing. (A blessing recited on joyous occasions, thanking G‑d for “sustaining us and enabling us to reach this occasion.” This blessing is recited before the standard “Ha’etz” blessing recited on fruit.)
As we celebrate Tu B’Shvat let us remember all those who have passed. Let us appreciate the deep roots that they planted for us, and the strength that they continue to provide for us.
“Tree, tree, wherewith can I bless thee? That thy fruit may be sweet – it is already sweet; that thou shouldst afford plenty of shade – that also thou dost; that a spring may be near thee–even that thou hast. The one thing left me which I can wish for thee is, that all trees planted from thy seed may be as fruitful as thou art. “
Talmud – Tractate Taanith
Happy Tu B’Shvat!
From Everyone at Chicago Jewish Funerals
Comments are closed.