Friday, January 25, 2013

Shabbat and the New Year for the trees

Tonight B'H we will celebrate the fifteenth day (in Hebrew=tu) of the month of Shebat, the new year of the trees or Rosh haShana laIlanot (In the Persian community this day is known as ILANOT, i.e., trees). 

Tu bishbat is the new year of the trees because on this date the trees are considered one year older, independently of when they were planted.  In other words, the age of a tree does not increase on the date it was planted (their "birthday"), all trees become one year older on the same day: tu bishbat

Knowing the age of a tree is a very important factor for manyMiṣvot connected to agriculture, for example, 'orla: the prohibition to eat the fruits from a tree during its first three years . By the way,  'orla is a Miṣva that applies not only in Israel but outside of Israel as well (see more details about 'orla and other cases here).

The tradition is to celebrate the 15th of Shebat by eating tonight from the seven fruits by which the Land of Israel was praised in the Tora: "...a land of wheat and barley and grape and fig andpomegranate, a land of olives and honey (=dates)" (Debarim 8:8).

It is a special zekhut to say the berakha and eat fruits which actually come from the Land of Israel.  We say just one berakha for one of the fruits of the tree (ha'eṣ) and the berakha for whatever else is eaten from wheat and barley (normally, mezonot).

When the 15th of Shebat falls on Shabbat, Rabbi Obadia Yosef recommends that the berakhot will be said not after the qiddush orhamoṣi but after birkat hamazon. In this way, we recite more berakhot during Shabbat and we avoid the debate about reciting unnecessary berakhot (safeq berakhot) .

Shabbat Shalom 

Candle lighting in NYC:        4:48 p.m.

Shabbat ends in NYC:            5:46 p.m. *

* This time is established by calculating the end of Shabbat at 40 minutes after sunset. Many communities determined the end of Shabbat at 50 minutes or more after sunset. 


For more information about Tu-biShbat see this

Plant trees in Israel. See here .