Tradition Today: Talking Tu Bishvat

What is actually the origin of this day – which is really not a ‘holiday’ at all, just a date on the calendar?

January 10, 2019 09:23
4 minute read.
Tradition Today: Talking Tu Bishvat

DRIED FRUITS for sale at Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market, in preparation for Tu Bishvat.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Tu Bishvat, the 15th of the month Shvat, is indeed coming: hag la-ilanot (the holiday of – or for – the trees).

In Israel people will be busy planting – or buying certificates for – trees. Maybe it really should be called “the holiday of Keren Kayemeth [LeIsrael],” the time when that institution takes the spotlight and benefits from increased contributions. This planting of trees is a modern idea, a Zionist invention that really caught on and transformed Tu Bishvat completely. Some people may also be busy buying fruits of the land to eat that day and may even have a Tu Bishvat Seder – eating fruits, drinking wine and somehow celebrating the land in a custom that sprang up through the influence of Kabbalistic writings.


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