web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Happy New Year …Trees!


Until Jews began to return to Eretz Israel in 1948, noone thought of them as farmers. For nearly 2,000 years, we had been dispersed throughout the world, and in many places were not permitted to own land or engage in agriculture. But in ancient Palestine, we were an agricultural people. We treasured the olive tree, the grape vine and the date palm. The Bible encouraged us to plant “all manner of trees” and forbade the destruction of trees of a conquered land.

On the first day of the seventh month, Rosh Hashanah we are judged and our fate for the coming year is inscribed in the Book of Life. So we are taught that trees are similarly judged on the New Year of the trees, which occurs on 15th day of Shevat (this year February 13), called Tu b’Shevat, considered the first day of spring in Israel.

This semi-holiday has always been associated with tree planting. In ancient times, one planted a tree at the birth of a child cedar for a boy; cypress for a girl. Special care was given to these trees on Tu bShevat, and when the children married, branches of their own trees were cut for the chupah (wedding canopy).

It is said that on 15th day of Shevat, the sap begins to rise in the fruit trees in Israel. So we partake of the fruits of the Land  apples, almonds, carobs, figs, nuts, dates and pomegranates. The pious among us stay up very late on the eve of the holiday reciting passages from the Bible that deal with trees and the fertility of the earth. We read the

story of how trees and plants were created (Gen. 1:11-13); the Divine promise of abundance as a reward for keeping the Commandments (Lev. 26: 3-18; Deut. 8:10-13) and the parable of the spreading vine, which symbolizes the people of Israel (Ezek. 17).

Sephardic Jews have their own special manual entitled “The Fruit of the Goodly Tree.” It was first published in the Judeo-Spanish language,  Ladino, in Salonica, composed  by Judah Kala’i. Each verse is recited as the relevant fruits are eaten, and some of the verses translate as follows:

“G-d increase our worldly goods,
And guard us soon and late,
And multiply our bliss like seeds
Of the POMEGRANATE.
 
For our Redeemer do we wait
All the long night through,
To bring a dawn as roseate
As the APPLE’s hue.

Sin, like a stubborn shell and hard
Is wrapped around our soul;
Lord, break the husk and let the NUT
Come out whole.

Etc.

Each of the fruits has its own symbolic meaning. The rosy apple stands for G-d’s glowing splendor; thenut represents the three kinds of Jews  hard, medium and soft. The almond stands for swift divine retribution, for it blossoms more quickly than other trees. The fig means peace and prosperity, and the humble carob stands for humility, a necessary element of penitence.

No religion has closer ties to agriculture and ecology than Judaism. In fact, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakai once declared: “If you hold a sapling in your hand and hear that the Messiah has arrived, plant the sapling first and only then go and greet the Messiah.”

Dvora Waysman is an Australian-born writer living in Jerusalem. She is the author of nine books, including Woman of Jerusalem; The Pomegranat Pendant and Esther. She can be reached at ways@netvision.net.ilor.  Her website is: www.dvorawaysman.com

About the Author: Dvora Waysman is the author of 13 books, one of which, “The Pomegranate Pendant” was made into the movie “The Golden Pomegranate.” Born in Australia, she has lived in Jerusalem for 44 years.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Happy New Year …Trees!”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Aqsa Mahmood, a nice Glasgow Muslim woman who turned jihadist and joined the ISIS.
Israeli Woman Arrested Trying to Join ISIS
Latest Sections Stories
book-Lord-Get-Me-High

Even when our prayers are ignored and troubles confront us, Rabbi Shoff teaches that it is the same God who sent the difficulties as who answered our prayers before.

Schonfeld-logo1

I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bullies, friendship and learning disabilities.

book-Avi's-Choice

His parents make it clear that they feel the right thing is for Avi to visit his grandfather, but they leave it up to him.

There is a rich Jewish history in this part of the world. Now the hidden customs are being revealed, as many seek to reconnect with their roots.

There are times when a psychiatrist will over-medicate, which is why it’s important to find a psychiatrist whom you trust and feel comfortable with.

On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder created one of the most famous, and valuable, pieces of film and became forever linked with one of the greatest American national tragedies when he stood with his camera on an elevated concrete abutment as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Exhibited here is […]

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom I’ve been thinking a lot about worrying. Anxiety is an issue close to my heart – […]

Don’t be afraid to try something different.

Upon meeting the Zionist delegation, General Wu, a recent convert to Christianity, said, “You are my spiritual brothers.

With the assistance of Mr. Tress, Private Moskowitz tried tirelessly to become an army chaplain.

Dr. Yael Respler is taking a well-deserved vacation this week and asked Eilon Even-Esh to share some thoughts with her readers in her stead.

More Articles from Dvora Waysman
Dvora Waysman

Fasting on Tisha B’Av helps to remember the past & recognize the miraculous nature of our history

Waysman-071814

How can you run away from Israel and all the things that have shaped your life?

Israel is so much more than a refuge for persecuted Jews.

Just imagine you are walking through a beautiful garden. Feast your eyes on the colors of the flowers, the grass at your feet, the leaves of the trees in shades from green to silver. Listen to the birds. Let the sunshine caress your face. Smell the perfume.

His dream was to reach out to every Jew, even the most secular.

This is a remarkable book to assist those of us – and that means everyone – who are trying to find our way in life, with all its setbacks and pain, as well as for people who want to help people.

Forty-six years ago, in the first week of June, Israel stunned the world when it wasn’t looking. Four years later, Israel stunned me when I wasn’t looking.

Jerusalem was never real to me. It was a name I came across in books of Bible stories as a child. If I’d ever tried to imagine it, it would have been like places in my books of fairy stories. I knew it was a city with crenellated walls, with domes and towers and minarets. In my mind, I saw it peopled with old men with long beards and flowing robes, and women with clay jugs precariously balanced on their heads.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/devora-waysman/happy-new-year-trees/2006/02/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: