1. What is the meaning of the word Tu b'Shevat?

Answer:

The word Tu b'Shevat is actually a date in the Jewish calendar,

where Tu is the day and Shevat is the month. the b' in Hebrew

means "in". Now let us explain step by step.

In the Hebrew numerical system, the letters "tet" and "vav",

(which can be pronounced together as "tu") represent the numbers,

nine and six, respectively, for a total of 15.

SO, Tu b'Shevat means the 15th day in the month of Shevat.

 

2. Why Tu b'Shevat considers as the holiday of the trees?

Answer:

Tu b'Shevat was the date set for the tithing of fruit, and the date defining

the end of the fruit crop of the previous year.

Tu b'Shevat is one of four new years in the Jewish calendar. The others are:

1. The first of Nissan for counting the reigns of kings and the three festivals

2. The first of Elul for the tithing of animals

3. The first of Tishrei for the judgment of mankind, the tithing of grain, and the counting of shmitah.

4. The fifteen of Shevat as we said here is called also the "New Year of the Trees", or "Rosh Hashanah La'ilanot",

 

3. Ok. So why the 15th of Shevat, and why we celebrate New year of the trees in the middle of the winter?

Answer:

In Israel, winter is usually a time of heavy rains and rushing, surging creeks and rivulets. At about the middle of the month of Shevat, the severe rainstorms cease, and soon thereafter, signs of spring begin to appear. Although two more months of winter remain, buds begin to swell on the trees, the enduring symbol of God's promise of renewed life.

According to some traditions, Noah's Ark landed in the month of Shevat, and the dove returned to the Ark with an olive branch in her beak. She heralds new life and the promise of a world that will once again bloom and provide nurture, as God promises never again to destroy all living creatures (Beresheet (Genesis) 8:21).

 

4. What is the significance of Tu b'Shevat in our time?

Answer:

In Israel, since the beginning of agricultural settlements in the late 19th century, the New Year of the Trees has acquired great significance, symbolizing the revival and redemption of the land. Tu b'Shevat is celebrated with songs, and trees are planted to honor or memorialize loved ones.

Tu b'Shevat has also become a day of commitment to protecting the environment. Judaism teaches that the earth is the Creator's, and that we are to be partners and co-workers with God in preserving our planet and its resources.

An ancient Midrash has become all too relevant today:

In the hour when the Holy One created Adam, the first person, God showed His creation the trees in the Garden of Eden, and said:

"See My works, how fine they are; now all that I have created, I created for your benefit. Think upon this and do not corrupt and destroy My world. For if you destroy it, there is no one to restore it after you." (Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) Rabbah 7:28)

Another image connected to the story of the Garden of Eden is the Tree of Life. The siddur compares the Torah to a tree, Etz Chayim. Just as we take sustenance from a tree, so our way of life sustains us in strength and beauty.

The 16th-century mystics of Safed understood the emanations of God in the form of an inverted Tree, whose roots (above) are invisible and inexplicable to us and whose trunk and branches reach (down) toward us. Through this Tree there courses the ultimate flow of universal life. It originates in the unimaginable Ein Sof or Infinite One, and becomes progressively more in touch with our world, in which creation is continually taking place.

The New Year of the Trees is regarded as a holy time. By saying blessings and partaking of many kinds of fruits, we have the opportunity to thank God for the wonder of renewed life, and to reawaken our own spiritual connections. In addition, we honor the land of Israel by enjoying her fruits, especially those of the seven species: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

"A man is the tree of the field"      "כי האדם עץ השדה"

The Tree

 

  1. Plowing: Prepare the land before the planting the seed for the tree.

  2. Planting

  3. Waiting (praying) for a good rain

  4. A young little plant is shown

  5. Feeding and nurturing the plant with good water and vitamins so the plant will grow strong and firm to be a tree

  6. Tree needs Water / Air / Sun all times.

  7. Supporting the plant with sticks or other support, so plant will grow straight, so it will be able to give fruits and oxygen to the world.

  8. The tree grows roots.

  9. The tree grows and develop trunk, branches and leaves and turn from a plant to a tree.

  10. Weeds around the tree need to be removed so they will not effect the tree to grow right.

  11. The tree brings out fruits.

  12. The tree can wither until he dies.

  13. According to the Kabbala, a tree has a spirit / soul.

The Human being

 

  1. Engagement, as a covenant to built a good and Kosher family.

  2. Wedding, Sheva Berachot (the blessing under the Huppa) as a preparation to bring a child to the world.

  3. Waiting (praying) for the blessing from HaShem to conceive and for the pregnancy to be shown.

  4. The birth

  5. Feeding and nurturing the child with good food and water so the child will grow strong, firm and healthy, so the child will grow to be a man.

  6. The child needs Water / Air / Sun all times

  7. Supporting the child with education, rules, laws and all other tools, so he will grow straight and honest to help the society around him.

  8. The child develops habits and culture.

  9. The child develops spine, muscles and limbs and turns from a child to a man.

  10. Always need to protect the child from bad and evil friends who will effect his growth.

  11. The man will bring children to the world.

  12. Man can wither until he dies.

  13. A man has a body and neshama - soul, which gives him the ability to speak and be connected to his creator—HaShem.