top of page

Birth of a holiday

Also this year we will be celebrating the beginning of Tu BeShvat on Sunday, February 5.

Tu BeShvat is really an interesting holiday, because first of all in rabbinic literature it is not a holiday at all, but rather a technical date for halachic purposes, so that we have a date to determine the age of a tree.

In the 16th century it is already mentioned as a holiday, and later the Kabbalists began to give it something mystical with rituals and prayers, and today most Jews celebrate it in one way or another in connection with eating different kinds of fruit and by connecting it to nature and preserving the environment.

I think Tu BeShvat beautifully shows us the evolution of Jewish traditions and culture, how a halachic technical idea from ancient times becomes a universal concept and holiday that we can all find a way to connect with.

And that, in my opinion, is the essence of Judaism: the Judaism of today is not the same as the Judaism of 100 years ago, and the Judaism of 100 years ago is not the same as the Judaism of 2000 years ago. In each generation we have found ways to keep our traditions and our culture relevant to that time and place, and that is why we have been able to survive as a group, internationally, through different times, different versions of suffering and in different circumstances and cultures.

The Talmud tells us in Ta'anit (20b), "A person should always be soft like a reed and not stiff like a cedar."

A cedar tree can be tall and strong, but when a strong storm comes, it will simply break and not survive, but a soft reed has the ability to be flexible and bend with the wind, and when the storm is over, continue to grow.

May we all absorb the powers of Tu BeShvat, enjoy the fruits that our wonderful world has to offer, and ensure that there will be a world for future generations.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page