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15 Shevat – The New Year for Trees (known as Tu Bishvat)

The 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar—celebrated this year on Monday, February 10, 2020—is the day that marks the beginning of a “New Year” for trees. Commonly known as Tu Bishvat, 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.

We mark the 15th of Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that “man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19), and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.

Although this day is Rosh Hashanah for trees, we attach special significance to this holiday because “Man is [compared to] the tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19). Through cultivating strong roots – faith and commitment to G‑d – we produce many fruits—Torah and Mitzvot.

2020: Sunset, February 9 – Nightfall, February 10