A few hours after 8-year-old Sammy Sommer and his parents were told by their amazing doctor in Milwaukee there would be no more treatment for his acute myelogenous leukemia, I met them for French fries at a hot dog stand in Highland Park.
"Tu" (the Hebrew abbreviation of 15th) in the month of Shvat was set (Hillel's opinion generally overrules Shammai's) as the beginning of the tithable year for tree fruit: Calculating the tithe on fruit starts again for fruit that sets after that date.
Purim is just around the corner. Your congregation is making plans for the celebration, whether those plans include a carnival or a spiel, there is a sense of excitement in the air. These festivities are rooted in the Bible, more specifically in M’gillat Esther.