Moderator: Paula. We’ll be discussing ways in which the soul becomes damaged, and how it can be healed.
Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar (February 9th on our calendar), is the day that marks the beginning of a “New Year for Trees.” This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.
Legally, the “New Year for Trees” relates to the various tithes that must be separated from produce grown in the Holy Land. These tithes differ from year to year in the seven-year Shemittah cycle; the point at which a budding fruit is considered to belong to the next year of the cycle is the 15th of Shevat.
Jews mark the day of Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day Jews remember that “Man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19). Therefore we will be eating some of the fruits of the Holy Land with our lunch, just for something different.