Tu B'Shevat

Tu B’Shevat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט‎)

Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, with a Jewish holiday know as the New Year of the Trees, also known as Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot. The main point was calculating the age of trees for tithing.

As Christians we do not celebrate this Jewish Holiday. But, I thought I would look into it and share my findings.

Tu B’Shevat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט‎)

Tu B’Shevat or Tu BiShvat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is a holiday also known as the New Year for Trees or New Year of the Trees.  It is also called “Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot” (Hebrew: ראש השנה לאילנות‎), literally “New Year of the Trees.”

Tu B'Shevat

“Tu” is actually a number, not a word. It means 15 in Hebrew. This holiday was a way to calculate tithing by the age of trees. This practice stems from Levitical Law. You can see Leviticus 19:23-25, shown below. (New American Standard Bible – NASB)

When you enter the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be orbidden to you; it shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 2In the fifth year you are to eat of its fruit, that its yield may increase for you; I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:23-25

Of the few customs to observe this holiday is to eat a new fruit on this day. Some will also eat from Seven Species (shivat haminim) as found in Deuteronomy 8:8. Plus, these fruits could only be accepted offerings in the Temple.Not only do they try a new fruit, they are also not allowed to fast or mourn.

 Seven Species (shivat haminim)

  1. Wheat,
  2. Barley
  3. Grape
  4. Fig
  5. Pomegranates
  6. Olive (oil)
  7. Date (honey)

Similar Arbor Day

On this day many Jewish people will plant trees like we do for Arbor Day (which is in April). Planting trees help make the land healthy and more vibrant. Interesting that Tennessee is doing a 250K Tree Day coming up on February 24, 2018. Very close to this Jewish Holiday.

Side note:

A Jewish “day” begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight.

Current occurrences of Tu B’Shevat

  • 5779 Jewish Year : sunset January 20, 2019 – nightfall January 21, 2019

Future occurrences of Tu B’Shevat

  • 5780 Jewish Year : sunset February 9, 2020 – nightfall February 10, 2020
  • 5781 Jewish Year : sunset January 27, 2021 – nightfall January 28, 2021

Past occurrences of Tu B’Shevat

  • 5778 Jewish Year : sunset January 30, 2018 – nightfall January 31, 2018
  • 5777 Jewish Year : sunset February 10, 2017 – nightfall February 11, 2017

The Jewish Months (And When They Usually Fall)

  1. Shevat  (January-February)
  2. Adar (February-March)
  3. Nisan (March-April)
  4. Iyyar (April-May)
  5. Sivan (May-June)
  6. Tammuz (June-July)
  7. Av (July-August)
  8. Elul (August-September)
  9. Tishrei (September-October)
  10. Kislev (November-December)
  11. Heshvan (October-November)
  12. Tevet (December-January

The start varies based on leap year and other factors. These Jewish months are actually Babylonian in origin. A leap month was often used in the Jewish months to help balance seasons and the lunar months and solar years.

 Anything anyone wants to share? Feel free to share in the comments below.

First published January 23, 2018. Last updated or republished January 20, 2019.

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