Friday 25 January 2013

Tu B’Shvat, the holiday of the trees

If the did not celebrate it Wednesday evening and Thursday, Jews around the world will celebrate the holiday of u B’Shevat, Tu Bishvat, or Tu B’Shvat (15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat) tonight.And people wondered why we should celebrate the holiday of the tree.almond blossom

The almond trees in Israel begin to shake blossoms out along their branches.
Across the globe this month Jewish communities are celebrating the holiday of Tu B’Shvat.  Many choose to commemorate the “New Year of The Trees” by planting pine trees in Israel.  Tu B’Shvat is a day that deals directly with the social inequality of our food system.  It’s a holiday that can inspire us to think about the free Gifts Jehovah God provides for humanity and it gives us the chance to think about His blessings and how we should use those blessings. This year you perhaps could also think about building community food security.

Savyon from the land of Israel
Savyon from the land of Israel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When we look around us we can see very beautiful things in nature, though many do not notice them any more.God has created the plants and given the task to the people to name them and to take care of them. God promised that all the plants would be for the good of people and would offer food for men and animal. And normally all of the seed bearing trees would bring forth fruits free for all people. Though people made it that humans had to pay for it.

"And Elohim said, “See, I have given you every plant that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed, to you it is for food." (Beréshith - Genesis - Book of the Beginning 1:29 The Scriptures 1998+)

Also in Europe and North America the inhabitants can look forward to the new time coming soon. In Belgium from tomorrow Saturday the temperatures will rise, but we can notice already the sap in thee shrubs begining once again to flow through it.  The trees are ready to bring out green knobs and to let the Voice of the Most High sound through their branches. If you look carefully around you you will see heralding
the New Year for trees. The melting snow shall provide moisture for the trees and the sap will bring forth fruit in the spring. It is the day to pray for a beautiful esrog. The custom for Jews is to eat fruits in order to be able to say the blessings on the fruits on this day. הדר עץ פרי, a fruit of splendor, is gematria העץ פרי ברא, [Blessed are you Hashem] who created the fruit of the tree (they both equal 659). Have in mind to ask Elohim Hashem Jehovah for a gorgeous esrog when saying this blessing.

In the Mishnah, where Tu B’Shvat is found, the purpose of the holiday is to make a single day in which our produce is taxed and given to the community. It’s based from a single line of Torah: “At the end of three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall lay it up inside your gates; And the Levite, because he has no part nor inheritance with you, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are inside your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied.“ (Debarim - Deuteronomy 14:28).

The Torah also says that "man is a tree in the field."We should come forth from good seed and bring forth good fruits.When we bring none, not enough or no good fruits we would be of no use.

God has plated the seed in Abraham to make Him a people. And God His Wishes shall always come true. So out of Aḇraham shall come forth the fruit of a blessed people because יהוה {Jehovah}appeared to him  and said, “I am the Elohim of your father Aḇraham. Do not fear, for I am with you, and shall bless you and increase your seed for My servant Aḇraham’s sake.”.(Beréshith - Genesis - Book of the Beginning 26: 23-24)
The Creator told His chosen people how He was to be called and that His Name and Works should be known all over the world. Those Works we can still see every day, because Jehovah God did not end Creating.

In the Land of Israel, several people are already happily celebrating Tu B’Shvat, the holiday of the trees. School children sing songs praising the Land of Israel and thanking Hashem for its fruits. Bus loads of students and families go on field trips throughout the country, and saplings are planted with great joy and spirit. And a festive meal of thanksgiving, highlighted by a cornucopia of fruits of the Land, will grace our tables on Shabbat.

  writes about this special day and looks at Eretz Yisrael. According to him without Israel the Torah is a shrunken, truncated, mini-version of the complete Torah of Eretz Yisrael. Two-thirds of the Mishna deals with laws that can only be performed in Israel. Without Eretz Yisrael, God Himself is reduced to a second-string diety, seemingly not strong enough to keep His Chosen People in the Land He gave them, for there is no greater desecration of the Name of God than when the Jewish People are scattered in exile amongst the goyim (Ezekiel, 36:20). Without Eretz Yisrael, there is no prophecy, no Beit HaMikdash, and the Divine Presence doesn’t appear in the world.

Kaliv Hasidim celebrating Tu B'Shvat in Jerusalem.
Kaliv Hasidim celebrating Tu B'Shvat in Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
The hunger in our cities resonates because everywhere we can see more poverty. We do not have to go far away form our own dinner-table to see the food crisis which is also a spiritual crisis. On this Tu B’Shvat, let’s reinvigorate the holiday’s original purpose, by doing our part to make hunger relief healthier, more respectful and more in line with our shared values.
Those who are fortunate to have an abundance of produce year-round could perhaps take time to think of those in need and provide for them.
Tu B’Shvat is an opportunity to more closely examine hunger and how to respond most effectively to ensure that hungry people have access to nutritious, healthy foods.


What’s the Point of Celebrating Tu B’Shvat in Exile?

Celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees

Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables (Photo credit: nutrilover)

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