Tu Bshvat

The name means the 15th day of the month of Shvat, which falls in late winter, and the festival is also called New Year for Trees, because on this day the sap is said to begin rising in the trees, and ,as well, the world is judged for the blessing of trees –  their health, how many there will be, and so on.

It was celebrated back in mishnaic times,and revived  by the medieval mystic, the Arizal, but fell out of popular usage for a while. The Chasidic Rebbes re-introduced the custom, which is to celebrate by eating a variety of fruits (15 in all) on which the blessing …Who Creates the fruit of the Tree. This number 15 includes the 7 fruits for which the land of Israel is famed – figs, dates , grapes, pomegranates, olives, wheat and barley.

It is also the custom to eat a fruit that we have not yet eaten this season, on which the blessing …Shehecheyanu (Who has kept us alive to this time) is said.

It is customary to plant tree saplings on this day.  It is not a full Yomtov -work is allowed- but it is a feast! Which is a good thing after all that tree planting.

It is also customary to say Psalm 104 and other Psalms at the celebration,  to take a spiritual stocktaking and to meditate on our relationship with the natural world, with which we have been blessed’

Tu Bshvat is special to us at Mitzvahs and Marrows and we hope you enjoy the day too!

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