Deconstructing Tu Bishvat

The problem is that all ancient Jewish sources are silent regarding this holiday – at least as a holiday.

By RABBI ARI KAHN
January 21, 2016 14:26
3 minute read.
Tu Bishvat

Tu Bishvat. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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The rabbis teach that everything is dependent upon mazal, or luck – even the Torah in the ark (Tikunei Zohar 99b). Apparently, Tu Bishvat has been the beneficiary of a great deal of luck; how else could one explain how a “non-holiday” grew in stature and became not just recognized as a holiday, but claimed by many as their own? Ask any schoolchild and he or she will tell you that Tu Bishvat is a holiday for the trees. There is even a popular song which will confirm this assertion.

The problem is that all ancient Jewish sources are silent regarding this holiday – at least as a holiday. The Mishna does list the first or the 15th of Shvat as a “new year’s day,” one of four that punctuate the Jewish calendar.

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