In Leviticus it says "And 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 forbidden to you; it shall not be eaten. But in the fourth
year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the L-rd. And
in the fifth year you are to eat of its fruit, that its fruit may
increase for you; I am the L-rd your G-d." (Lev 19:23-25, NASB)
Tu B'Shevat (which means the 15th day of the
Jewish month of Shevat) is not a Biblical holiday, but was declared to be a
special day by the Rabbis so that there would be a clear marker to tell when
a tree was planted rather than having to remember all the individual
planting dates. By having one common day, it is then easy to know how old
any of your fruit trees are on an annual basis. By picking a day in the
coldest part of the year, this is a time when the sap in the tree will be
at its lowest point and no growth will have taken place in the new growing
cycle, so it makes a good division between active years of a tree's life.
To make the text more understandable, it was ruled that if for the first
three years the fruit is forbidden, it means that you can not use it or
profit from it in any way, although the leaves and branches are not included
in this prohibition. The text states that you are not allowed to eat the
fruit and the Rabbis have said that you are also not allowed to smell it,
sell it or feed it to animals. Preferably the fruit is to be burned but, if
this is not possible, then you are to bury it.
Tu B'Shevat is a day when it is traditional to plant trees and eat fruit
from Israel, as well as other fruit you have not eaten that year. It is
also a festive time when people thank G-d for the trees, fruit and foliage
Here are some ideas of things that you can do to make Tu B'Shevat a special
This Tu B'Shevat, why don't you buy some unusual fruit (from
trees), maybe try to find some from Israel, and eat it. Here is a
blessing to say before you eat it, to thank G-d for it:
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha'olam, borei p'ri ha-eitz
Blessed are You O L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who creates
the fruit of the tree.
Look around you and find some special plant or tree that you think is
beautiful and thank G-d for it and also the wonderful variety of
greenery around us.
Trees can have unusual and wonderful shapes, even if they don't have
leaves on - as most don't around this time of year in England. Start a
scrapbook or collection of trees (not just fruit trees) that you see and
like throughout the year, decorating it with stickers, bark and leaf
rubbings, drawings, poems, and some writing about what kind of tree it
is with the date you found it and where you saw it
Choose a tree near your house, in your favourite place or in an orchard
and keep a record with pictures of what 'your' tree looks like
throughout the year, writing down the dates of when you took the
Use rubbings of tree leaves or bark to make a Tu B'Shevat card to give
to your parents, grandparents, sibling or friend.
Bark rubbings: These are done outside, on your chosen tree. Curl
your paper (white paper is best) around the trunk of the tree at a
comfortable height and angle, because once you have started rubbing it
is not a good idea to move your paper. Taking a coloured wax
crayon, rub hard (although being careful not to tear your paper or
snap your crayon!) on the paper over the trunk of the tree until you
have a tracing of the bark pattern. Then you take the paper off and
stick it wherever you want it in your project.
Leaf rubbings: It is best to do this on a clean, flat surface,
making sure that there are no obvious bumps - for instance, no crumbs
left over from breakfast! Place your chosen leaf on a clean piece of
paper or board (nothing that is going to matter being pressed down) and
put whatever paper you want your rubbing on (white paper is best), over
the top of the leaf. Next you take a coloured wax crayon and rub
over and around the leaf shape underneath your paper, being careful not
to tear the paper by pressing too hard. When you have got an outline of
your leaf, lift you piece of paper off, cut around your picture (leaving
a ¼ inch margin around the outside of it) and stick it wherever
you want it in your project.
This is a game for one or more persons. Take the phrase "Fruit Orchard"
and try to find as many other words as you can with the letters in those
two words. The words have to be 3 or more letters and you can only use
each letter once in a word (for instance "tuft" is not allowed at
there is only one "t" in "Fruit Orchard"). Place or people names are not
allowed, although Bible book names are permitted.
If you have two or more players, have a set amount of time (for instance
2 or 3 minutes) for each "round". Start with 3 letter words and when the
allotted time has run out, compare words and each word that no-one else
has got counts as one point to the person who wrote it down. Then move
onto 4 letter words and so on, until you have found as many as you can.
Or, try and find the most words that begin with "f" then "r" and so on.
Again, each person gets a point if they wrote down a word no-one else
had. The person with the most points is the winner.
Here are some words to start you off... ford, tar, arch, draft.
Copyright 2008 Met - T. Allen