The Promise of Tu B’Shevat

Tu b’Shevat is the holiday that lets us know better days are coming.

In the midst of winter, the ground is cold and hard in many places with leafless trees silhouetted against the often-gray skies. But leafless doesn’t mean lifeless- and deep in the winter earth, things are happening. Trees and plants are awakening, gathering nutrients, making ready for the spring that is soon to come. 

Tu b’Shevat (sunset to sunset, January 27-28) is the first Jewish holiday that honors the environment and guides us to take care of the earth and all that grows from it. Also called the new year of trees, the holiday’s timing is based on the biblical land of Israel’s Mediterranean climate and agricultural calendar. This is when almond trees blossom and farmers plant seeds for spring crops. In ancient times, fruit trees were counted for taxation purposes and to ensure there were enough that survived since the last growing season.