Today in Israel we are experiencing some of the coldest temperatures we have seen in the last five years, but we are celebrating a holiday about growth and bearing fruit – Tu Bishvat!
Tu Bishvat (ט"ו בשבט) is the date in Hebrew for the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. This year, the date coincides with February 10th on the Western calendar.
While it has taken on many symbolic meanings, Tu Bishvat is commonly known as the Israeli Arbor Day or the “New Year” or “Birthday” of Trees!
Now, you may know some people who celebrate their pet’s special day, but you probably haven’t met many who celebrate a special birthday for their trees! So, why a birthday for trees in the Jewish tradition?
The answer comes from the question “How can I apply God’s word to my life and know I am walking in His ways?” – a great question for us as well!
In Leviticus 19:23-25 The Lord commands Israel:
“When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten. And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit, to increase its yield for you: I am the Lord your God.
In order to keep track of the years of the newly planted trees - to know when to bring an offering of the fruit to the Lord and when to eat from the tree, the Rabbis decided to mark the fifteenth day of Shevat as the “birthday” for all trees. Today in Israel, many people celebrate Tu Bishvat by eating fruit or planting trees or seeds.
We at Sar-El would love for you to experience Tu Bishvat and the earliest signs of Spring that are blooming all over Israel through the rain showers. We hope to see you in the land when it is in full bloom!
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