by Rabbi Carol Calise
Tu Bishvat begins at sundown today, February 10, 2017. It literally means “the fifteenth of the month of Shevat.” It is known as the “New Year for trees” and is somewhat like Arbor Day. This holiday is not listed in the Tenach and is a minor holiday that is not widely observed in Jewish homes today. The first mention of it is around 200 CE. It is tradition to eat of the seven species mentioned in Devarim 8.8 as part of the Promised Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates, wheat and barley. which are listed as the fruit of the Promised Land. The Scriptures speak a lot of trees from the Tree of Knowledge in Gan Eden to the Tree of Life mentioned in Revelation.
As we contemplate this holiday, I want us to think of how Adonai likens us to trees in Tehillim (Psalms) 1.1-3:
1) How blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked, don’t stand on the way of sinners or sit where scoffers sit!
2) Their delight is in ADONAI’s Torah; on his Torah they meditate day and night.
3) They are like trees planted by streams -they bear their fruit in season, their leaves never wither, everything they do succeeds.
Adonai tells us that when we delight in His Word by meditating on it and saturating our lives with it, we will be like trees that are planted by streams of waters. The Word of G-d is so important to our lives as followers of Yeshua. We cannot underestimate how pivotal it is for our success. Although all of us want to be successful, we often ignore the pivotal role the Scriptures play in that success. In Yehoshua 1.8 we are told not only to meditate on the Word but to do what it says if we want to see success. These trees by the water are trees that are firmly rooted. That’s how we will be when the Word of G-d is central to our daily lives. The Word brings stability to our lives so that we are not fickle in our faith. Make the Word part of your daily habits – read it, meditate on it, memorize it and most important do what it says. As we delight in the Word of G-d, success will come to us. We will be fruitful in our lives and will be strong even in the storms of life and the heat of day.