[Photo Source: IGT Israel & Global Travel]
In the Hebrew calendar, today is Tu B’Shevat the 15th of Shevat. This date marks the new year for trees (in Israel). This date was first discussed in the Mishnah (the first comprehensive work of codified Jewish law) as being the Rosh Hashanah or new year of the trees. The ramifications and significance of when the new year for trees takes place relates to the tithing of fruits that grow on trees and other rituals that require fruits that grew during specific years according to the Jewish calendar. In Israel, today is a festive day that marks the season in which the earliest-blooming trees emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.
In addition to the legal ramifications of the day, with regard to tithes and other Jewish rituals, there is also another celebratory component about the day which is celebrated by some. In the Bible, (Deuteronomy 20:19), Moses told the Jewish people that “Man is [compared to] the tree of the field”. Some compare the byproduct of the good deeds of people to the allegorical fruit of the trees. Some use this analogy to discuss and contemplate the ways in which man can refine himself to the point bearing ripe and refined “fruit” through.cultivating strong roots – faith and commitment to G‑d. Therefore, some have the custom of making a seder or festival meal, in which dried fruits are eaten and the ideas of Man’s comparison to the tree is discussed and contemplated.
On Tu B’Shevat, it is customary to partake of the fruit which Israel is praised for in Deuteronomy 8:8. Some of the fruits include olives, dates, grapes, figs, and pomegranates*.
We at Lev Haolam wish you happy Tu B’Shevat!
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*Some of the information for this post was taken from Chabad.org