During (Mussaf) prayers on Shabbat and holidays, Jews ask God that they be planted in the Land of Israel.
Trees were not planted during the transient 40 years of wandering in the desert. Trees are planted in the permanent, everlasting, immutable, indestructible Jewish environment of the Jewish Homeland.
7. The almond tree, which blossoms earlier than most trees/fruit, announces the arrival of Tu B’shvat. The almond tree/fruit commemorates the rods of Moses and Aharon (the symbol of the shepherd’s authority and might, guiding his flock), which were endowed with miraculous power during the Ten Plagues, the ensuing Exodus and the Korah rebellion against Moses. According to the book of Numbers 17:8, “[Aharon’s rod] put forth buds, produced blossoms and bore ripe almonds.”
8. On Tu B’shvat, it is customary to eat – for the first time – fruit from the new season, particularly the 30 types of fruit growing in the Land of Israel, while focusing on happiness and minimizing sorrow.
9. A Tu B’shvat Seder (learning session/family gathering) is conducted on the eve of the holiday, recounting the importance of the trees and fruit of the land of Israel and the historical background and significance of Tu B’shvat.
Happy Tu B’shvat, Shabbat Shalom and have a pleasant weekend.Yoram Ettinger
About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.
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