How Tu B’Shevat is Celebrated Today

The Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat falls on the 15th day of the month of Shevat. It isn’t a major Jewish holiday, but is still celebrated by many, especially in Israel. It’s also known as the “New Year for Trees,” as the date was chosen to mark the blooming season in Israel.

The day celebrates the season when rain falls strongest in Israel, causing buds to show and fruits to appear. School children often mark the day by planting trees, although this is a relatively new practice. Outside of Israel, Tu B’Shevat is often a celebration of a person’s attachment and connection to nature.

Tu B’Shevat is traditionally celebrated by eating fruit. This practice originates back to the middle ages, when the Tu B’Shevat Seder was developed by Jewish mystics. The Seder involved drinking four cups of wine and eating ten different types of fruit, and the practice quickly spread to other countries with a large Jewish population. While this Seder isn’t as widespread today as it was in the past, it’s still common in Israel.

While all types of fruit is eaten on Tu B’Shevat, particular attention is given to those that are specifically mentioned in the Torah, such as olives, dates and grapes. Fruits and nuts that have an inedible outer shell, such as banana, pineapple and Brazil nut are also eaten. The outer shell should traditionally only be removed once Seder begins.

People in Israel also use the holiday of Tu B’Shevat to consider their place in the world. A relevant Jewish saying is that “man is a tree of the field,” and on Tu B’Shevat Jewish people try to learn lessons from trees and other parts of nature.

The day has always been associated with trees, and by extension nature, so Tu B’Shevat is often used to promote ecological and environmental causes. Many people plant trees, for example, especially in Israel. The trees are often paid for by donations from Jewish people living abroad.

The tradition of planting trees on Tu B’Shevat dates back to 1890, when the Rabbit Ze’ev Yavetz asked his students to plant trees at an agricultural colony. In 1908, this practice became more widespread, and was officially adopted by the Jewish National Fund and Teachers Union. Today, the National Fund organizes large-scale tree planting on Tu B’Shevat in forests, with huge numbers of Jewish people taking part.

History of Tu B’Shevat

Tu B’Shevat is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the 15th day of the month of Shevat. It’s also known as the “New Year of the Trees.” The day originated in biblical times, but is a relatively minor Jewish holiday. It began as a day to check trees for tax purposes, but developed in the middle ages into a celebration of nature. Today, the holiday is often used to promote environmental awareness, and is marked with the planting of new trees.

Tu B’Shevat in Biblical Times and the Middle Ages

The history of Tu B’Shevat can be traced back over two thousand years, although the meaning and method of celebration have changed considerably in that time. Tu B’Shevat is strongly linked to trees, which have always featured prominently in Jewish spirituality and literature. The name of the holiday is derived from the Jewish date and month, where Tu stands for a pair of numbers that add up to 15.

There are four new years in the Jewish calendar, and Tu B’Shevat is considered to be one of them. There was originally some debate about the date of each holiday, but eventually the 15th of Shevat was chosen for the purpose of calculating taxes on trees and land.

Tu B’Shevat began as a day to check the age of trees owned by individuals. If a tree was less than three years old, a period known as orlah, the fruit was forbidden to be eaten. This was because during this time the tree and fruit was considered God’s property.

During the middle ages, Tu B’Shevat became a “feast of fruits,” and was much more of a celebration than it was in biblical times. The day was also considered as an agricultural new year.

The kabbalist Rabbit Yitzchak Luria developed a ritual for the holiday in the 16th century, with the idea that eating ten different fruits, four cups of wine and reciting particular blessings – in the correct order – would bring humans closer to the perfection they desired. This was known as Tu Bishvat Seder, and has been revived by many Jewish people in Israel today.

In modern times, Tu B’Shevat has become a celebration of nature and our environment. It is used by a number of organizations, especially in Israel, to promote environmental causes. It is also often celebrated in Israel with the planting of new trees.