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Tu Bishvat

Tu Bishvat (or Tu B'Shvat) (ט"ו בשבט) is a Jewish holiday celebrating the New Year of the Trees. It is one of the four Rashei Shanah ("New Years") mentioned in the Mishnah. Tu Bishvat marks Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot (ראש השנה לאילנות ) "the New Year of the Trees".

The name Tu Bishvat comes from the date of the holiday, the 15th day of Shevat (שבט). Shevat is the name of a Hebrew calendar month and ט"ו, read as "Tu," is how the number 15 is represented by Hebrew numerals using the Hebrew alphabet. It is sometimes referred to by its full name, Hamishah Asar BeShevat (חמישה-עשר בשבט), "The Fifteenth of Shevat". This date generally falls on the second full moon before Passover, or, in a leap year, the third full moon before Passover.

We mark the day of Tu B'Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that "Man is a tree of the field" (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.

 

 


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