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CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History


The new year of the trees

Culture 129

DEUTERONOMY : 20,19 : « When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it  to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man’s life) to employ them in the siege:

                           20,20, Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that makes war with thee, until it be subdued.”

Tu Bisvat is a minor Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of Hebrew month of Shevat.

It is called “Rosh Hashana la ‘illanot” in Hebrew, literally “New Year of the trees”

In contemporary Israël, the day is celebrated as an  ecological awareness day and trees are planted in celebration and we eat many fruit.

In Israel, the kabbalistic Tu Bishvat seder has been revived, and is now celebrated by many Jews, religious and secular. Special haggadot have been written for this purpose.

In the Chassidic community, some Jews pickle or candy the etrog (citron) from Sukkot and eat it on Tu Bishvat. Some pray that they will be worthy of a beautiful etrog on the following Sukkot.

Culture 129A