This past week, the Jewish community celebrated the holiday of Tu B’Shvat. A colorful event sometimes referred to as the birthday of the trees, Tu B’Shvat marks the earliest blossoming of trees in Israel signifying the beginning of Spring and of new life.
In Jewish tradition trees are a long-standing symbol of life and the connection to life through God, starting with the Tree of Life in the book of Genesis. In fact, throughout scripture there are many verses using trees as a symbol including Psalm 1.
“Happy is the man who has not walked in the advance of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the Torah of Adonai, and on his Torah he meditates day and night. He will be like a planted tree over streams of water, producing its fruit during its season. His leaf never drops – but in all he does, he succeeds.”
Though Tu B’Shvat is a celebration of the renewal and life of physical trees, the knowledge of the deep symbolism of trees in the Bible through verses such as in Psalm 1 points us to its spiritual significance that stands as a reminder of the source of life.
Another biblical analogy to trees speaks to the very vision of TJCII in Romans 11:17. “But if some of the branches were broken off and you—being a wild olive—were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness.”
Tu B’Shvat serves as a reminder that God will always bring new life and new seasons within that life. It reminds us also of God’s provision from season to season. As we enter this new year and in commemoration of Tu B’Shvat, let us give thanks for the beautiful trees and nature that the Lord has provided as well as all of the branches of our beautiful community in TJCII and the richness that we add to each other’s lives in being connected.
As we enter this new season, may the Lord bless you abundantly and may He bring many new branches to TJCII through the connections to be formed and strengthened in the year to come.