Tu Bishvat

Data/Images/tu_bishvat_s.jpgTu Bishvat or Tu B'Shevat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט‎) is occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (in 2011 this occurred from sunset on January 19th through sunset on January 20th). It is also called "The New Year of the Trees" or (Hebrew: ראש השנה לאילנות, Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot‎).

Traditionally, trees are planted on this day. Many children collect funds leading up to this day to plant trees in Israel.

According to the Mishnah, it marks the day from which fruit tithes are counted each year, and marks the timepoint from which the Biblical prohibition on eating the first three years of fruit and the requirement to bring the fourth year fruit to the Temple in Jerusalem were counted.

In the 16th century, the kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed and his disciples instituted a Tu Bishvat seder in which the fruits and trees of the Land of Israel were given symbolic meaning. The main idea was that eating ten specific fruits and drinking four cups of wine in a specific order while reciting the appropriate blessings would bring human beings, and the world, closer to spiritual perfection.

In modern times, it is celebrated by eating various fruits and nuts associated with the Land of Israel.

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