Tu B’Shvat, or the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, is traditionally called the "New Year for the trees of the world". It is the time of year when the sap begins to rise, thus beginning the cycle of rebirth for the trees. And it is considered an auspicious day in the Jewish calendar.
Why do we make such a big deal about the New Year
for trees? We have our own New Year, why crash their party as well?
But the truth is that the tree teaches us a profound lesson about
our potential for growth especially during this time of year.
In fact, the Torah even compares us to trees: "A person is like the tree of
a field" (Devarim 20:19). And in describing a righteous person, the
prophet Jeremiah writes, "He will be like a tree planted near water" (17:8). Finally, the Torah even compares itself to a tree in the verse, "Torah is a tree of life for all who grasp it" (Proverbs 3:18).
Trees represent the ever-present potential for spiritual renewal. Everybody has high point and low points. And every spiritual seeker hits points on their journey where they feel uninspired, disconnected and burnt out.
We look at a tree in the dead of winter looking so down and sad, branches bare and frozen, with no life force visible, and then, miraculously it seems, the Almighty sends a gush of sap up from its roots, inducing it with new vitality and life.
This is the Almighty whispering into our ear. Remember how not too long ago we were so energized by our potential for growth, our dreams and resolutions? Perhaps many of those dreams have faded away. Perhaps we are feeling spiritually bare and frozen in these dark days of winter. Shake off the dust and get up! This time of year, Shevat, the Zodiac sign of Aquarius, brings with it the potential to reach down to the roots of our souls, the wellsprings of freshness that reside inside of us and ask ourselves what we can do to reignite!
Additionally, Kabbalistic masters teach that the Jewish month of Shevat is a time when our creative energy flows into the world. Just as the roots of the tree discover a new source of vitality from someplace beneath the surface to begin the process of bringing beautiful, colorful, fresh fruit in to the world, we, too, need to use this time to dig down deep and tap in to the creative force inside of us to bring new flare, color and excitement into the world around us. The worlds needs out unique creativity, our unique flare.
May the month of Shevat and the holiday of Tu B’shevat bring you new vitality and energy into your life!