10 Facts About Tu B'Shvat

Have you heard about the Jewish Holiday Tu B'Shvat? If not Rabbi Lewin has a video “10 Facts About Tu B'Shvat.” This video will increase your understanding about this special time and enlighten you with some potentially surprising information.

Tu B'Shvat is also referred to as the trees’ birthday, and it represents a new year for the observances of tithes and other agriculture related laws from the Torah. People may celebrate this time by eating a variety of fruits, and some may feel like eating fruits that remind them of Israel specifically.

We can learn a lot about God from nature, and the Bible does say a lot about fruit. Here is one verse about fruit and other agriculture products being subject to the tithe laws that you may not have heard much about.

“‘All the tenth given from the land, whether from planted seed or fruit from trees, belongs to Adonai; it is holy to Adonai’” (Leviticus 27:30).

I think in modern times it is very easy to think of tithing as literal money rather than farm produce, because, for a lot of us, our primary income isn’t from farming. So thinking of tithing as a percentage of a resource like produce can remind us to consider ways we can share our blessings with God that go beyond money.

We can give God our time. If we find ourselves blessed in ways that aren’t reflected in money, we can share some of those blessings as well.

For example, maybe we received a gift from someone that can be shared with others; or maybe we can invite people for a meal when we were blessed with extra food and have more than enough. “He who is kind to the poor is lending to Adonai; and he will repay him for his good deed” (Proverbs 19:17). Everything we have is a gift from God, and there is spiritual fruit that we need to grow. But we cannot do this ourselves. God’s spiritual can help us change and become better.

Spiritually, we are like the trees celebrated on Tu B'Shvat. It's not easy, but we can produce spiritual fruit. Just as a good harvest is a kind of victory over the things that could destroy a crop of fruit, our spiritual lives are victories over things that could destroy our spiritual fruit.

“And it is perfectly evident what the old nature does. It expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and indecency; involvement with the occult and with drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue and envy; in drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you now as I have warned you before: those who do such things will have no share in the Kingdom of God! But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control. Nothing in the Torah stands against such things” (Galatians 5:19-23).

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