A teacher once told me that four words characterize our era: “I,” “here,” “now,” and “everything.”
Tu B’Shevat is, therefore, one of the most important days on the Jewish calendar – because it undermines these four words. The Holiday of Trees is not celebrated in the spring, but in the winter; not at a time when everything is already blossoming and ripe, but at a time when we do not yet see the results. We do not get everything here and now. Rather, we wait. At the moment, we only have to plant, irrigate, invest, believe, and hope.
Thinking of the genesis of trees reminds us that in life there are slow, hidden processes. Matters develop below the surface; we do not see everything immediately, and, therefore, we must continue investing of ourselves and have patience. It’s true when it comes to child-rearing, to marriage, to schooling, and to every other meaningful area in our life.
In a generation in which we impatiently wait to see two blue check marks (was our WhatsApp message read yet?), we get a reminder once a year of the most important commodities: patience, continued labor, investment, devotion.
All of these eventually bear fruit and positive results.