Sometimes I have an idea and I want to get it down before it’s gone. Erev Shabbat I had this idea—about holyness— and I wrote it down. Well, I ended up publishing it, instead of saving it! I apologize for any confusion, as this obviously was not so connected with Parsha Beshalach, Shabbat Shira, or Tu B’SHvat. Oy Vey!

JEWISH EARTH DAY — TU B’SHVAT

THE HOLY KABBALISTS OF TZEFAT ELEVATED THE JEWISH FESTIVAL OF TU B’SHVAT, INTO A DAY OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND SPIRITUAL AWARENESS. IN OUR ERA OF ECOLOGICAL DEGRADATION, JEWISH EARTH DAY PROCLAIMS THAT EARTH IS A GIFT WE MUST ENJOY AND PROTECT.

Tu B’Shvat, the fifteenth day of the Jewish month of Shvat (ended today at sundown) is the birthday for all trees, marking the age when fruit can be tithed.

KABBALAH
Kabbalists (Jewish mystics) in Tsefat (c. 1600’s) created the Tu B’Shvat seder modeled after the Passover seder. Participants eat four different categories of fruit and drink four different combinations of red and white wine or grape juice, symbolizing the four seasons and the mystical “four worlds”.

HARVEST
Jewish tradition is to eat from the seven fruits mentioned in the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Many eat from as many as 30 different fruits.

ETHICS
On this day we remember that “A person is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.

HOLY LAND
The early pioneers of the State of Israel celebrated Tu B’Shvat by planting trees. This practice continues today.

ECOLOGICAL ACTION
In recent years, Jewish communities around the world have begun to celebrate Tu B’Shvat as a “Jewish Earth Day” – organizing seders, tree-plantings, ecological restoration activities, and educational events, all of which provide an opportunity to express a Jewish commitment to protecting the earth.

BLOGGING
Blogging is good for the environment—it saves trees.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah

1 Comment

  • I dont know about the last one. The environmental damage done by the poisons in computer equipment is only now becoming noticed. But since we can dump most of it in the third world we can stick to out of sight out of mind. Paper making is the cleanest it has ever been and tree harvesting is very high tech. Maine (my homeland) is more forested now than it was 100 years ago. This is due to better tree farming tactics.

    I planted a tree to celebrate and toasted my Japanese maple for his birthday.

Leave a Comment