Ask The Rabbi: Happy New Year for the Trees
I saw an ad on campus about a Tu B’Shevat celebration, called “New Year’s Day for the Trees”. Is it like a Jewish Arbor Day? Thank you.
“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”
Joyce Kilmer, “Trees”
The poet sees the work of God in a tree. But why a tree? Why not a mountain, a river or a zebra?
Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat — February 11, 2017— is the “New Year’s Day” for trees. Why do trees need a New Year? Do they make resolutions?
Judaism teaches that although now it may look like the dead of winter, it is not. Deep inside the tree the sap is beginning to rise. Spring approaches, rebirth has begun. And we are taught that just as this is so for a tree, so too it is for man, since “man is a tree of the field” (Deut. 20:19). The “renaissance,” the process of rejuvenation in man has begun.
Happy New Year to the “Trees”! And a Happy New Year to “Mankind” as well!