Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Birthday of the trees Tu BiShvat

Tonight and tomorrow we celebrate the minor Jewish holiday Tu BiShvat.
The Talmud calls it the New Year for the Trees, and this refers to tithes collected for fruit-bearing trees after they reached a certain age.

Some 400 years ago the mystics of Safed (Tsfat) created a Tu BiShvat seder, modeled on the Passover seder, that celebrated the Tree of Life (the Kabbalistic map of the Sephirot).
Last Tu BiShvat I attended such a seder and posted about it.
That traditional seder ends with the hope:
"May all the sparks scattered by our hands, or by the hands of our ancestors, or by the sin of the first human against the fruit of the tree, be returned and included in the majestic might of the Tree of Life."
The miniature of Adam and Eve was made by Sasha Borisov.
Enlarge the photo and see it sparkle!
It is displayed here in a glass case in front of the courtyard of the Jerusalem House of Quality, where craftsmen create, display, and sell their creations.
Look what Rabbi Geoff Dennis writes today in his eye-opening blog:
"In various traditions, we learn that trees are sentient and offer praise to God continuously (Gen. Rabbah 13:2; Perek Shirah). The cosmic trees in the center of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (all things, which stands for the universal order we we know, the unredeemed world) and the Tree of Life (understood by Judaism to be the Torah and the source of immortality and the ideal divine order God wants us to restore to creation) are not the only trees of power. All trees in Eden have the power to heal and give off a scent that comforts and soothes the soul . . . "
As we eat this day from the many fruits and nuts and olives of the lovely and loved trees of our Land, I share this post with Rob and Mandy's "Thursday Food for Thoughts."
Happy Tu BiShvat to all the trees and to their friends!


Hels said...

More than anything, trees convert a person's home, street and town from a concrete jungle to a living space full of colour, smells and birds. I think we should gaol people who needlessly pull down established trees.

Kay said...

You know that Art is a "Tree-Keeper". (Trained to tend to trees) We do absolutely love trees and wish we could have more of them here. Have a peaceful, happy celebration.

Sara said...

Happy Tu BiShvat to you too! Trees have always seemed special to me and I like that there is a holiday in their honor...I'm always learning something interesting here at your blog.

That glass miniature is gorgeous; I can't imagine how she made such a delicate tree with all those fragile branches and tiny leaves out of glass.

Anonymous said...

The sky as a limit, all the very best for you and your all trees.

daily athens

Chuck Pefley said...

I'm so happy to see the birthday of trees celebrated! How wise!!

Amazing glass sculpture ... so delicate and fitting. Thanks for sharing this!

Cezar and Léia said...

Such a wonderful day, happy Tu BiShavat!
Léia - Bonjour Luxembourg

cieldequimper said...

As perfect as usual.

VP said...

This is a very interesting story, Kabbalah was an old passion of mine! I like trees, but I'm not sure if I can be their friend...

Dick said...

What would the world be without trees. Wonderful miniature.