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Israel’s Arbor Day – Tu B’Shevat Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Celebrations and Holidays, Cultural Awareness, Food, Judaism, Torah, Vocabulary

טוּ בִּשְׁבָט‎ (Tu B’Shevat) is a Jewish holiday on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of שְׁבָט‎. It is also called רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לְאִילָנוֹת‎, literally “New Year of the Trees”. Ecological organizations in Israel and the diaspora have used the holiday to further environmental-awareness programs.

 

Customs

There are few customs or observances related to this holiday. One custom is to eat a new fruit on this day, or to eat from the שִׁבְעָה הָמִינִים‎ (seven species) described in the Torah (Deut. 8:8) as being abundant in the land of Israel. These שִׁבְעָה הָמִינִים‎ are:

חִטָּה ‎ (wheat),
שְׂעוֹרָה‎ (barley),
עֵנָבִים‎ (grapes),
תְּאֵנִים‎ (figs),
רִמּוֹנִים‎ (pomegranates),
זַיִתִים (olives),
תָּמָרִים‎ (dates).

 

In the 16th century a seder ritual was developed to discuss the spiritual significance of the שִׁבְעָה הָמִינִים‎. Aish.com provides a traditional text for this seder. The Jewish college student organization Hillel also provides materials for a Tu B’Shevat seder.

List of Dates

Tu B’Shevat will occur on the following days of the secular calendar:

Jewish Year 5773: sunset January 25, 2013
Jewish Year 5774: sunset January 15, 2014
Jewish Year 5775: sunset February 3, 2015
Jewish Year 5776: sunset January 24, 2016


*The word “Tu” is not really a word; it is the number 15 in Hebrew, which you can find out about Hebrew numbers in a previous article.
List of dates from www.jewfaq.org

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About the Author: Sean Young

Learning languages since 1978 and studying over 50 (achieving fluency in 10). Sean L. Young loves giving tips, advice and the secrets you need to learn a language successfully no matter what language you're learning. Currently studying Hindi and blogging his progress right here at Transparent Language - https://blogs.transparent.com/language-news.