On the 25th of January we will be celebrating one of my favorite Jewish holidays: Tu B’Shevat. Tu B’Shevat celebrates the birthday of trees and the coming of spring. In honor of Tu B’Shevat, I would like to share with you a story. This story is adapted from Leviticus Rabbah 25:5.
In the times when the Romans ruled over the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, an old man planted a fig tree. A Roman general happened to pass by while he was planting the tree. He laughed at the old man and said, “You Jews are stupid. Don’t you realize it will take twenty years before that tree will grow enough to give fruit? You will be long dead by then!” The old man answered, “When I was a small child, I could eat fruit because those who came before me planted trees. Shouldn’t I do the same thing for the children who come after me?”
At Tu B’Shevat we are reminded that we are responsible for caring for the earth. This story helps to illustrate how important it is for each of us to do our part to ensure that our children will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature as we have. A wonderful tradition that has developed is that of planting trees in Israel through the JNF (Jewish National Fund) around the time of Tu B’Shevat. I encourage you and your family to make a special effort to participate in this mitzvah this year. If you would like information about planting trees in Israel, please contact me in the school office.