We all know that Tu B’Shvat is the “Rosh Hashana of the trees” and we celebrate Israel’s nature by eating fruits from the land of Israel. But, why is it in the middle of Shvat? And why is Shvat even called Shvat?!
Well! I found the answer for you!
The origin of the word Shvat is from Acadian ŠABATU meaning to kill or to destroy, describing the end of the rainy season (the death of the rainy season).
And why is it “Tu” meaning the middle of the month? That was decided by House of Hillel after an argument with House of Shamay. House of Shamay said that just like Rosh Hashana, it should be on the first day of Shvat. House Hillel said that on the first day of the month it is still the rainy season, and we need to wait two more weeks for it to stop raining. Also, House of Hillel claimed that you should celebrate Tu B’Shvat when it’s moonlit night like Sukkot or Passover. The final decision was made at the beginning of the eleventh century by the Rabbi Hai Gaon.
In the 16th century, wise men from Tzfat decided that you should eat fruits on Tu B’shvat, and you should try at least 30 different fruits.
In 1908, the Teachers Federation of Israel decided that Tu B’shvat will be a day in which students and teacher plant trees on Tu B’shvat, a costume that it still happening to this day.
I hope you learned something new about Tu B’shvat.
Until next time…