Happy Tu Bi'Shvat
Happy Tu Bi’Shvat,
Tu B’Shvat is the new year for the trees. We celebrate it on the fifteenth day of the month of Shvat, which is the 11th month in the Jewish calendar.
Tu indicates the day of the month in Shvat.
Each letter in Hebrew has a numeric value. Alef = 1 Bet= 2 etc.
Logically Tu should be the letter Yod= 10 and the letter Heh=5
Yod and Heh together is one of G-d’s name, therefore we use the letters Tet and Vav, The numerical value of 9 and 6, adding up to 15
This holiday isn’t mentioned in the Torah, but mentioned in the Mishna* which means the date was decided by the Rabbis.
Surprise surprise, there was more than one opinion, and so the argued.
Rabbi Shamai suggested the first day of the month, the new moon, the beginning of the month, the birth of the month. He also based it on other holidays that were celebrated on the first day of the month** Rabbi Hillel suggested we celebrate it on the 15th day of the month, the day of full moon.
Guess who won?
The almond tree (Etz Sha-ked) is the symbol of the holiday. It is one of the first trees to be awakened from the Winters’s cold and rainy weather. The almond blossoms are extraordinarily beautiful, giving a white and pink glow to the cold winter and a promise of the warm spring ahead.
The edible seed of the almond fruit is nothing special to look at, but is considered a superfood nutritionally. It’s actually not a nut but a drupe***
In Israel we call the almonds we eat almonds, but we call the tree Shkedia. For a change it’s not from the Mishna and no rabbis argued about it. It’s simply derived from a children song, that caught on and became the name for the tree.
Jewish unwritten law says; when you have Jewish holiday … you must celebrate, which means a feast. This is the holiday that will make vegetarian and vegan people happy. The main food are fruits, don’t forget to include the almonds!
Did you ever hear of a Tu’ B’Shvat seder?