Tu B’Shvat

15 Facts About Tu B’Shvat

1. On the 15th of Shvat, heavenly treasures are opened on high to pour down abundance into the world pertaining to both physical and spiritual fruit.

2. The 15th of Shvat is an auspicious time to ask G-d for ‘good fruit’ meaning healthy children and grandchildren toiling in Torah and mitzvoth.

3. It is said in the name of the Ahavat Israel of Vizhnitz that eating an etrog on the 15th of Shvat  can help barren women conceive.

4.This day is auspicious for good and to bring recovery of health to all of the Jewish nation. (Tiferet Banim)

5. The Zohar writes that the 15th of Shvat is the ‘New Year for Trees’ in plural not for a tree in the singular. This is to tell us that it is a New Year and a time of abundance for people too; That’s why it says trees plural, one for trees and one for people. As the verse says, “for a man is the tree of the field”. It is known that on this day man can accomplish much.

jews in usa

6. The Maharal explains the comparison between trees and man. “The tree needs to be attached to the source with roots into the ground. If it gets uprooted it will lose its source of sustenance and dry up. Likewise man; not like a tree that has roots below, rather he is found here on earth and his roots are up in the heavens. He must be very careful not to disconnect himself from his heavenly roots and should always be tied to his Father in heaven. For if G-d forbid he gets disconnected from the root of holiness, he will lose the whole source of his life in holiness.”

7. Rabbi Shlomo of Bobov OBM once said to his young chasidim in comparing man to a tree,” just as a  tree as long as its young, even if it gets crooked it can be straightened out if you tie chains and ropes around it and get it eventually back into shape. But if its already a mature tree with a thick bark it isn’t flexible anymore and can’t be moved or bent to what you want. So too man. When he is young, a person can change his bad natures and establish himself on the correct path. But the older you get the harder it is to uproot a bad trait.”
His students asked him, “how young is considered young?” The rabbi answered, ‘As long as he’s willing to bend himself he is young.” Rabbi Elimelech Biderman, when repeating this story says “this teaches us that at even at an older age a person can force himself (back into shape) and the 15th of Shvat is auspicious for this.

8. One of the Chasidim of the Baal Hatanya was a great ‘worker’ that did ‘good for heaven’ only and refused to be kind to people. His rabbi, The Baal Hatanya,  called him and  said; “The verse says’ man is like a tree’ and the comparison is that just like a tree no matter how nice he is if he doesn’t give fruit, he is a barren non fruit bearing tree and is not worth anything. The same with man, if he climbs to heights in Torah and divine service but doesn’t give from his fruit to others he is barren…

9. Rabbi Eliyahu Cohen of Izhimir left a wish in his last will and testament to his son saying: “My son be careful to eat fruit on the 15th of Shvat for it’s an old custom”. And we must infer that his intention wasn’t just physical fruit rather spiritual fruit which are learning Torah and doing mitzvoth properly.

10. Through the custom of eating fruit and blessing on them on the 15th of Shvat, we put holiness into in all the fruit that they should come only from the side of the tree of life. (Pri Tzadik from Rabbi Tzadok the Cohen).

11. A person should pray on the 15th of Shvat that he should merit a kosher Passover with stringently watched matzot, free of the sin of leavening G-d forbid. (Ohel Yissachar) Likewise one should pray on this day to find a nice etrog  for the following Sukkot.

12. On this day even the evil are given strength to renew and change their ways. (Magen David, from Talna)

13. Rabbi Hai Gaon  wrote that saying  the first pslam is a sgulah (remedy) to prevent  stillborn births for the verse there says, “He will be as a tree planted on a body of water that gives its fruit in its time.” The Ateres Yeshuah of Dzikov uses this verse to explain why the zodiac of Shvat is Aquarius which hints to water as the verse says “water will flow from his buckets”. And this is what the verse means when it says “and he will be as a tree planted on ‘palgei’ bodies ofwater” Palgei also means half and the half-way point of Shvat which the month of water is the 15th. About this day it says “And he will give his fruit in its time” which means this is the most auspicious time to merit the fruit, the outpourings of good to do every type of goodness.”

14. About the 15th of Shavt it is also explained: “That there went the tribes of “Kah”- G-d testimony to Israel to praise the name of G-d. “Tribe” Shevet is the same letters as Shevat and the name “Kah” hints to the 15th of Shevat when Israel praises G-d when the make a blessing on the fruit.

15. In the book Pri Tzadik it brings down that eating fruit on this day repairs all other “eatings” to be considered holy. 


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