You may be thinking… huh? Wasn’t New Year’s like over a month ago? Firstly, I can’t believe it’s already been a month since New Year’s, and secondly, I’m talking about the New Year of the Trees. Tu B’Shevat – the 15th of the month of Shevat is celebrated as the New Year for nature. We actually have four new year’s in the Jewish calendar. The different new years all coincide with the tithing schedules (the part that you’re supposed to leave or give to G-d in thanks).
The first is the first day of the month Nissan. This is considered to be the New Year of the Prophets and starts the counting of the layout of the festivals for the remainder of the year. There are several sacrifices that are made at this time of year, and it is also around this time that the holiday of Passover begins (the 15th day of Nissan). This also marks the official start of Spring.
The second is the first day of the month of Elul. This is starts the year from the point of view of tithing cattle for Temple sacrifices. Since the destruction of the Temple, the Sages determined that this would also the beginning of when we start to recite Selichot, or preparation for repentance before Rosh HaShannah. This also marks the official start of the last month of Summer.
The third is the one that most people are framilar with and that we celebrate on the first day of the month of Tishri. This is called Rosh HaShannah – Head of the Year. Originally this date was associated with the last reaping of the harvest and the festival associated with it, though after the destruction of the Second Temple, the Sages decided that it would mark the head of the civil year, and therefore be called Rosh HaShannah – Head of the Year. This also begins the ten-day trial period where humanity is judged and ends with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
The fourth, and the one we are currently celebrating is Tu B’Shevat. Originally this marked the date for calculating the tithes of the harvest that farmers would pledge to the priests of Israel. Today Tu B’Shevat represents a national Arbour Day in Israel, with tree planting ceremonies in Israel.
To celebrate the holiday, we tend to plant a tree or eat some of the fruits and grains from the land of Israel. So today I’m going to post two recipes. One that keeps cookie week going strong, and another that I’m actually re-posting from another blog. When you see it, you’ll know why I’m posting it! So enjoy, and Happy Tu B’Shevat!