By Zanna Linskaia
Every season on the 15-th day of the month of Shevat we celebrate the birthday of the trees, so called Tu BiShvat - “Rosh HaShanah La’illanot".
First, this ancient holiday was mentioned in Talmud in the part of “Mishna” as one of the four New Years in the Jewish calendar, that dates back to 200 C.E. Then, with Zionist movement and pioneers returning to the Eretz Israel in 19th century, the land became flourished and forested after invasion disasters of thousands years. With an establishment of National State in 1948, Israel annually celebrates planting of the trees on Tu BiShvat. As a matter of fact, the first Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion planted the trees near the Knesset in 1949 in honor of Tu BiShvat festival.
In diaspora it has traditionally been called as the “Jewish Arbor Day,” and has compared to Earth Day, which started all over the world only in 1970.
Even though Tu BiShvat historically was an agricultural event and had Kabbalistic roots, now days we continue to celebrate it with traditional Seder of dried fruits, a custom to plant trees via National Jewish Fund in Israel and diaspora. The great philanthropist rabbi Morris Wosk bought a piece of land in Israel for Burquest Alley where each tree, including fruit
trees, can be planted in the name of loved one by our members and their families.
Fruit tree has a special meaning in Judaism. Remember the Garden of Eden? For Jews fruit trees such as figs, dates, almonds, olives, apples, pomegranates, grapes, etc. symbolize life, growth and nourishment.
The favorite song of the famous American actress and singer Judy Garland was “I’ll plant My Own Tree” from the movie -“The Valley of the Dolls”. She sang it to the end of her short tragic life.
- “I’ll plant my own tree and I’ll make it grow. My tree will not be just
one in a row. My tree will offer shade when strangers go by. If you’re
a stranger, brother, well so do I”.
Let’s plant your own tree...