Do you know what Tu B’Shvat is?
Tu B’Shvat celebration – the 15th day in the Hebrew month of Shvat – is referred to as the “new year for the trees.” Although not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, Tu B’Shvat has come to represent our connection to the Land of Israel. For centuries, Jews around the world ate dried fruits from the Holy Land on this day – in the days prior to air travel, it was impossible to buy fresh fruits from Israel outside of the Land. And that custom remains – eating both fresh and dried fruit from Israel on this day and in Israel, we plant trees. Schools, cities, and communities all over Israel host tree-planting events, where young saplings are put in freshly dug soil, injecting a sense of Jewish renewal in the Promised Land. But this year, a Sabbatical year – Shemittah in Hebrew – is different. On a Sabbatical year, the Bible commands us to let the land rest, and we refrain from planting new trees.
In this video teaching, I explore the spiritual significance of Tu B’Shvat and its connection with the Shemittah year, drawing on rich sources from the Talmud. But at the foundation of the Talmud’s discussion, lie two vital Biblical texts – Leviticus 26:33-35 which connects the exile from the land with the sin of not observing the Shemittah year and Ezekiel 36:8 which provides the ultimate sign of redemption – the blossoming of the trees. Read these Biblical verses and then join me in a fascinating lesson about the origins of Tu B’Shvat, how it is celebrated, how it relates to the Sabbatical year, as well as the spiritual underpinning of this holiday.
Shalom from Samaria,
Director of Development