"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

1/25/13

Jewish Holiday: Tu B'Shevat

I'm excited about this post - as it is my first discussing a Jewish holiday - and it's one I'm guessing very few of my Christian friends have heard of.

If you're unfamiliar with the Hebrew calendar, I've written a post about it. Just click on the link in this paragraph.

Anyhow, at sunset tonight (see the link above), the minor Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat begins, ending at sunset tomorrow. This holiday is not mentioned in the Bible, but is referred to in the Mishnah, a collected group of oral traditions written down by second century AD Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi.

The name of the holiday literally means "fifteenth of Shevat (the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar)." It is the New Year of the Trees - or sometimes called the Jewish Arbor Day. Tradition states that it originated as the date when the growing season began for Old Testament tithing purposes. 
photo credit: _Blaster_ via photopin cc
Almond trees are often the first to bloom in Israel

This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. And Jews often celebrate this holiday by eating plants that are mentioned in the Old Testament as being abundant in Israel, including wheat, barley, grapes, figs, olives, pomegranates, and dates. Another common thing to do on Tu B'Shevat is to have a tree planted in Israel in your name (or plant one where you live, if possible).

Just FYI - having a tree planted in Israel in your name is a pretty common thing for special occasions - at least among American Jews. I'd guess that there are at least a dozen somewhere in Israel with my name on them ;). At least where I grew up, this was done through the Jewish National Fund. Just a way to help bring streams in the desert (Isaiah 35:6).

And now, for your listening pleasure, a video of the song I most remember singing as a child in Hebrew School for Tu B'Shevat. (The version I sang was about 75% English and 25% Hebrew - this one is all Hebrew)


Here are the lyrics in both English and Hebrew.

(note, for more information, click on any of the links within this post)

Had you heard of this Jewish holiday? What did you find most interesting?


Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

14 comments:

  1. What a fun post. It would be fun to incorporate this holiday into my family's traditions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Phee! If you do, I'd LOVE to hear how you did :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. I have heard of it but never really understood what it was all about. I love this, thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Jen! I have to admit I didn't know all this information myself either. Gotta love the Internet ;)
      Have a great day!

      Delete
  3. I certainly had never heard of it. How neat to think of all the trees bearing fruit in your name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I had never thought of the trees bearing fruit in my name. LOVE the way you look at things, Wanda :) And thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! I'd never heard of this holiday before!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome! I suspect you are not the only one LOL. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  5. I love that everything in the Jewish faith was a mirror of what was to come with Christ. Bearing fruit in our names. We are expected to be those trees and bear that fruit. What a wonderful post, Joanne. And what a rich heritage you share!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Linda! It's amazing for me to look back and see all those reflections of Christ in the OT. I sure didn't see them before! So glad God opened my eyes.

      Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

      Delete
  6. Very informative post and loved the song. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome, Cynthia - thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Loved the post learning more of the jewish customs and celebrations. Informative stuff. Hope you keep these kinds of posts coming. (possible future research source) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's definitely my plan, Caroline - and if you need that research BEFORE I post about another holiday, don't be afraid to ask the source ;)
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear your thoughts - please share them!


  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009. Design expanded and personalized by PattyWysong.com 2011.

Back to TOP