In the midst of environmental, financial, and political uncertainties – today is Tu B’shvat – the New Year of the Trees.
It is a time when vegetation all around is awakening from dormancy, shaking off the dust and beginning to stretch, mother earth is preparing herself for another cycle of creation and life. It’s nothing new, though every year it seems to come “just at the right time”; where the winter season has us scrambling for warmth, this time of the year brings us optimism and hope.
It is a period of reclamation and replenishment, still it must be claimed.
The Torah tells us “A person is like the tree of a field…” (Deut. 20:19).
Just as trees require soil to be firmly rooted, water for life, and the sun for nourishment; so too humanity requires a strong home base, a foundation where values and morals are absorbed, water, and the sun for food and nourishment.
The rabbis of the Talmud (in Avot 3:22) speak of a person whose roots are numerous: “Even if all the winds of the world were to come and blow against it, they could not budge it from its place.” Similarly for us human beings, our roots are embedded in knowledge of self and communal participation – it is there you will find yourself grounded and prepared for the winds that lie ahead.
Today is the warmest day of the winter (in NYC), take this time-bound opportunity to step outside, soak in the sun, brush off the weighted dust of winter, say a blessing for newness, and look into the horizon – brighter days are ahead.
עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה, ותומכיה מאושר
Happy Tu B’Shvat