The Holiday That Llinks Jews With the Land of Israel and Celebrates the Environment.
As a Federation who counts the ancient city of Tzfat as a partner, we are particularly pleased to share that it was the kabbalists of Tzfat who turned Tu b’Shvat into a celebration of nature, its fruits, and the Divine “tree” reaching towards us.
This “birthday of the trees” is a time to think about relating to the natural world, with celebratory acts from planting trees, eating fruits and having a Tu b’Shvat seder, another ritual that began with the kabbalic masters of the 15th century, modeled on the Passover seder. Four cups of wine were drunk and seven “fruits” symbolic of the Holy Land were eaten.
In the Bible, fruit trees are greatly revered as G-d’s bounty and beneficence. Fruit trees were protected in times of war by law, ensuring that the produce of trees would not be picked until the trees were mature enough and tithes were given from them.
Tu b’Shvat has taken on additional meaning in recent years, as concern for the environment has increased.
"See My works, how fine they are; now all that I have created, I created for your benefit. Think upon this and do not corrupt and destroy My world. For if you destroy it, there is no one to restore it after you." (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28)