This article is being written a day after the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat. On Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat, we celebrate the New Year for trees. On this day, it is customary to eat different fruits, especially those from the seven species for which the land of Israel is praised in the Torah.
The timing of this celebration seems strange. If we were to celebrate when the trees become covered with fruits, it would be understood. Yet, we celebrate the New Year for trees when the trees are barren, cold, orphaned from their foliage and produce. For us living in Ottawa, the 15th of Shevat is usually a day when the trees are not even visible. They are covered in heavy snow. Why celebrate a New Year for trees in the dead of winter? [Read more…]