Tu B'shevat is coming!

The almond tree is blooming
And the golden sun is shining,
Birds atop each roof
Brush (bless) the arrival of the festival.

Tu B'Shevat has arrived
(It's) the festival of trees.
Tu B'Shevat has arrived
(It's) the festival of trees.

The land is crying out
The time of planting has arrived
Each person shall take a tree
We'll stride out with spades.
Tu B'Shevat has arrived...

This time of year, this song is sung by children in Israel (in Hebrew of course). Did you know that Tu B'Shevat is the new year for the Trees? What is the connection between Trees in Judasim? Why did someone plant a tree in your honor for your Bar Mtizvah?

What is Tu B'Shevat?

Tu B'shevat literally translates to the 13th day of the month of Shevat. It is known as the birthday for the trees or the new year for the trees. It dates back to the Talmud in reference to the laws of Orlah, that the fruits of a fruit bearing tree cannot be eaten for the first 3 years.

In modern days, Tu B'Shevat is an ecological celebration. Its customary to plant trees have a Tu B'Shevat seder full of wine, dried fruits and fresh fruits. 

The symbol of the tree is very intertwined into Judaism. It appears in the garden of Eden, as the tree of knowledge. The torah is referred to as the Tree of the tree of life and stands as a symbol of God's life-giving presence. The notion of Dor L'Dor, from generation to generation, is often represented by the roots of a tree. And Israel, which not so many years ago was mostly desert, has been planted full of trees. When you plant a tree in Israel, you are building a future for all Jewish people.

So while Tu B'Shevat might seem like a minor holiday that you vaguely remember learning about in Hebrew school, its actually full of symbolism that is deeply rooted with in Judaism. Its a beautiful fun holiday, so go ahead, plant a tree and plan a Tu B'shevat seder. And make sure to be wearing a Tree of Life while you are at it!


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