The Mishnah's designation "New Year of the Trees" was not merely a poetic phrase. It had profound bearing on Jewish law. In order to observe certain mitzvot it was necessary to know how old a tree was. Tu B'Shvat was the official "birthday" for all trees and this day was the official deadline.
In Temple days, offerings had to be set aside from all new fruit and crop produce. Fruit gathered from the previous years produce could not be used for Tithes and Terumah due on fruit gathered in the next year. The age of the tree was significant from another halachic aspect. The law of Orlah forbids eating from fruit trees during the first three years after they have been planted.
Today Tu B'Shvat is a time to consider our more general connection to the earth and our obligation to take care of it.
The Jewish tradition of 'tikkun olam' repairing the world--can be taken in an ecological as well as a spiritual sense. On this day, then, we can renew our commitment to this philosophy by taking matters into our own hands. For example, we could commit ourselves to planting a garden, lobbying our politicians to protect our natural resources, by planning a family recycling project and giving to the J.N.F. to help the land of Israel.
At TBA, our Religious school will be celebrating with a Seder, Thursday, January 16th at 4:15, and Sunday School with a special planting on January 12th.
We look forward to seeing you on Sunday night, January 12th, as we celebrate with our special Tu B’Shvat Wine Tasting and Painting at SCV’s newest hot spot – Pinot’s Palette. Enjoy wine while being inspired by local artists guiding us step-by-step through a featured painting. At the end of the night, you leave with your own masterpiece! You must RSVP for this awesome event, which begins at 6:30 pm. See flyer below.
Rabbi Mark Blazer