All I’m hearing is “spring is coming!”
Andrea Bellamy |

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So the groundhogs say spring is right around the corner. As a gardener, of course I say, “yahoo!” But is there any truth to their predictions?

I have no idea. But I thought it was interesting that, although completely unrelated, tonight is also Tu be-Shvat, which, in the Jewish calendar, is the New Year of the Trees. My rabbi (David Mivasair from Ahavat Olam) commented:

“Have you noticed in the clear night sky the moon is waxing brighter?

For millennia, Jewish earth wisdom is that Friday night’s full moon will release this year’s winter and bring the first stirrings of spring.

Tu be-Shvat – the fifteenth day of the month of Shvat – since ancient times has been Rosh ha-Shanah le-Ilanot – the New Year of the Trees.

Deep below, beyond where we can know, life-energy stirs and begins to ascend – up tiny fibers to the roots, to the trunk, out the branches, to the tips and, finally, manifests as flowers, fruit and seed. Each year, it all begins anew on the night of the full moon of Shvat.

We celebrate and join our energy into this renewed flow of emerging life by making a seder – a ritual of eating and drinking foods with meanings and energies of their own based on the kabbalistic Four Worlds model of Earth, Water, Air and Fire – Hand, Heart, Head and Spirit.”

From an eco-Jewish perspective the celebration of Tu B’Shvat is a catalyst for encouraging Tikkun Olam (healing of the world), as well as a day to dwell on the current state of the global environment and to examine how our own actions affect the physical world.

It’s a great day to plant a tree!



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