Tu B’Shvat is not a typing mistake. If you live or visit Israel, you might attend an event celebrating Tu B'Shvat, the New Year of Trees. Tu is the Hebrew word for the number fifteen. We are in the Hebrew month of Sh’vat.
Before you go searching through the Scriptures, please note that you will NOT find this holiday in any Bible. It is found only in the Mishnah. There are two different schools of thought on this holiday. There were two Rabbis - Shammai and Hillel. They believed that there should be a New Years for trees, perhaps to celebrate new life after the winter.
Shammai lived in a lush part of Israel so he thought the date should be early in Sh'vat, this month. Hillel, on the other hand, lived in a drier area of Israel, and thought that this holiday should begin later in Sh'vat. They wanted to determine when the date was that a tree stopped drawing water from the ground, and instead drew its nourishment from its sap. Perhaps Hillel carried more clout and he got his way. Over the years, this Tree celebration has taken on festive gaiety, from community dinners eating the various fruits from Israel, to planting trees. Did you know that every tree that is in Israel has been planted? One would never know from visiting Israel now, but it was a land of desolation. Rent the movie Exodus to see what Israel looked like fifty years ago. Growing up, our family had a little metal box to fill up with change, so that our family could send money to Israel, to plant a tree in Israel, on Tu B'Shvat.
Trees are special to God? From Genesis one, the first book to Revelation 22, the last book--- Trees are all through the Bible. Twenty - nine, count them, 29 different varieties of Trees in the Bible. Trees had many uses - furniture, holy implements, the Ark, the Cross. Trees provided food and fruit. Tree activities involved clapping their hands.
Trees give shade.
Trees bear fruit. For us, Tree membership is very important. We must belong into One Tree. The Olive Tree. It doesn't matter if we are grafted in or are a natural branch; there is only ONE Tree that is mandatory for us to be into - that is the Olive tree that Rabbi Sha'ul Paul speaks of in Romans 11:24. Every tree bears fruit - good fruit from good trees; bad fruit from bad trees. Bad trees are burned. So don't be a bad tree! It makes note in the Bible, that we will be known by our fruit.
Even when trees are doing nothing, they still give aid. They give shade. There are times in trees’ lives, that all they can do is give a bit of shade. Their fruit might be latent; it might not be their season; all they can do is just stand and be a tree. God still loves them, nourishes them and in due season, they will bear fruit. If there is a storm tossing you about; think about being a tree. If you are a Believer, then you are in the right Tree. Maybe you can just clap your hands; maybe all you can do is give shade. Perhaps all you can do is stand and let the storm blow you to and fro. Your season will come to bear fruit.
Be patient and wait for the LORD and think about David's words:
I would have despaired unless I had believed that
I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Happy Tu B’Shvat!