Tu B’Shvat – Even Trees Need A New Year Celebration

Today is the 15th of the month of Shvat. Since ancient times it is designated as the New Year of trees.  You might say, why do trees need a New Year of their own?

By Rabbi Yisroel Finman

Today is the 15th of the month of Shvat. Since ancient times it is designated as the New Year of trees.  You might say, why do trees need a New Year of their own?

Let’s look  into the Torah for an answer.

Deuteronomy Ch 7 Vs17 singles out grapes, figs, pomegranates olives and dates as having significant importance

And in several places giving tithes, portions of certain grains and fruits to the Cohen (priests), Levites and poor people is mentioned.  Tithes are done yearly. There must be a beginning and an end of the yearly planting and harvesting.             For trees that day is the 15th of Shvat.

There is also a very spiritual aspect of Tu B’Shvat. It’s basis is from the written in Ch19. VS.19 “Do not cut down  a (fruit bearing tree) tree. The tree is a man of the field”  The Torah is making a profound connection between people and trees.  We are both the most advanced of our type. Humans of  the animals. Trees of the  plants.   Recent scientific studies have found that trees have family units. They communicate with one another. If one is sick the others send nourishment via their root systems. Trees actually have an audible beat that allows the sap and water to be pumped through its’ system. At night, trees lower their leaves and assume a slow down in activity, much as we humans do when we sleep.

Within the past few centuries a Tu B’Shavat Seder has become popular.  There are various ways of having this celebratory event. All of them center around eating fruits from trees and more importantly understanding what each variety of fruit can teach us.  (Sorry, but ground fruit– strawberries, raspberries,  bananas, pineapples, papayas do not grow on trees)  For example, walnuts have a hard-impenetrable, protective shell (we all know some people like that) but if cracked properly it revels a desirable inside. Some fruits have pits inside that seem to be useless but in reality, inside the pit is a seed that can grow a new tree. Some fruits are completely edible. They ae like people who are the same inside and out. No facades.

So, eat a variety of fruits today and think about what each fruit can teach us about ourselves.

After all, the tree is not a Man of the Field but  they sure do have a lot to offer.


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