Posts Tagged: Tu B'Shvat Results 32
One of the most potent memories I have of Hebrew School (other than the time I got into trouble for setting the clock ahead) was our celebration of Tu B’Shvat. In addition to pasting the leaf-shaped stamps on our Jewish National Fund tree poster, I loved feasting on the dried fruits and nuts that, we were told, came from the Land of Israel itself. Even if the fruits hadn’t been delicious, the notion of their having traveled over the ocean to our little school (and carried on camelback to the port?) was the ultimate of the exotic to my child’s mind.
The Tu B’Shvat Seder placed special emphasis on Shivat Haminim — the Seven Species of produce native to the Land of Israel, which are mentioned in the Torah: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey.
Although in many parts of the world it is still winter, Tu B’Shvat — the 15th of Shvat, the New Year of the Trees, also known as Chag Ha’Ilanot, foretells the coming of spring and presents an opportunity to honor the forthcoming season with a heightened taste. Tu B’Shvat is listed in the Mishna (oral law) as the date used for calculating the beginning of the agricultural cycle for the purpose of biblical tithes. Today, it offers us a unique opportunity for insight into our personal growth through an exploration of the connection between trees, their fruits and our spiritual existence. Throughout the centuries, kabbalists have used the tree as a metaphor to understand God’s relationship to the spiritual and physical worlds.
The seven species are pomegranate (above), grapes, dates, figs, olives, wheat and barley.
Dates, one of the seven species traditionally eaten on Tu B’Shvat, are represented in Deuteronomy (8:7-8) by their honey, called devash in Hebrew.