Today is Tu B’Shevat. This is the New Year for trees. This day marks the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. That may seem yearly to you, but today it was sunny and about 65 degrees.
Leading up to this day, all the grocery stores have fruit baskets and dried fruit displays for sale. It is very common for people to eat from the fruits of the land of Israel, such as grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
Here is an abridged quote from an article in a Jewish periodical I read recently: Tu B’Shevat’s appeal resides not just in its foods and rituals, but also in its sensibility. The day lends itself to good thoughts and goods deeds that bear on fruitful contemporary issues, from stewardship resources and sustainability, to our relationship with the Land of Israel. In the right hands and with the right attitude, they can be effectively combined into a wholesome, uplifting and decidedly modern observance.
While that takes the scope of the holiday beyond the Biblical intent, I do believe it could help those outside of Israel to take a moment to remember the Land of Israel and how it is an everlasting inheritance for the Jewish people. It also reminds us of fruit and what kind of fruit are we bearing in our walk with the L-rd.