15th day of Shvat - “…Just as my ancestors planted for me, so I will plant for my children (Talmud Ta’anit 23a).”
Tu B’Shvat is a time when we celebrate the New Year for trees. It falls on the 15th of Shvat in the Hebrew calendar and it is a time for us to focus on our ecological responsibilities and the life cycle of renewal. The very first task that was assigned to humans by God was to care for the environment:
‘God took man and put him into the garden to work it and guard
it…’ (Genesis 1:15).
In Israel, Tu B’shvat is usually celebrated by planting trees and holding the Tu B’shvat seder. Planting trees is a custom that was first held in 1884 in Israel due to the spiritual significance of the land of Israel and the agricultural emphasis that the Zionist brought with them to Israel. The Tu B’shvat seder is formed out of 4 sections for the 4 worlds as the Kabballah says:
• The spiritual world of God represented by fire – Atzilut (nobility)
• The physical world of human represented by earth – Assiyah (Doing)
• The emotional world represented by air – Briyah (Creation)
• The philosophical, thoughtful world represented by water – Yetzirah (Making)
Each section of the seder also represents one of the four seasons, and mixtures of red and white wine are drunk in different amounts as a representation of the natural cycle.