Tu BiShvat, called the "New Year of the Trees," falls at a seemingly incongruous time of year.
Tu BiShvat is a minor festival whose provenance dates only to the time of the Second Temple. However, the kabbalists who clustered around the great fifteenth-century mystic Isaac Luria of Safed placed great weight on the holiday, creating new festivities, gatherings at which hymns were sung, fruit (particularly carob) was eaten, and four cups of wine were taken (as in the Passover seder).
Judaism was so unfamiliar to my son that he was wary of my Hanukkah gift. I felt as though, at such a young age, he was choosing to shun my religion, to identify with Christianity. Of course, if he chooses to identify with either religion later in life, that decision will be his own – but for now, I need to at least give Judaism a fighting chance.
Winter weighs on the soul of this author. She finds comfort, though, in the moon cycles and their symbols, laden with meaning, healing, comfort, and inspiration.
When our ancestors experienced darkness, they lit a fire. Today, as we battle apathy in response to fear and doubt, we seek direction in light.
Everyone loves to participate in a Pesach seder. But did you know that there is an opportunity to celebrate a different seder about two months earlier?