Tu B’Shevat

garden-feb-lgJanuary and February are good months to begin planning our gardens. What would you love to add to your landscape this season? I am looking at hazelnut trees.

My friend Caitlin from Mermaid Farm said that “whatever you do, only order American, as the European Hazelnut Trees are subject to blight.”

I love Fedco for trees. The catalog itself is an interesting read.

Caitlin recommends Badgersett and states:

“They are bushes, not trees. The hazel bushes are generally 10–15 feet tall and 6–10 feet across at maturity. If neglected or stressed, they do not do well.” I wonder how to prevent their stress. I certainly am familiar with neglecting plantings.

TuBShevatcolThe Jewish calendar is attuned to the many different cycles of nature and this week we have Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar—celebrated this year on Monday, January 25, 2016- the day that marks the beginning of a “new year” for trees. This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. I asked our Vineyard Rabbi, Caryn Broitman to explain the holiday and here is her reply: Trees speak to us as symbols of life, diversity, strength and spirit.  The Torah is called a “tree of life,” and a human being is called “a tree of the field” (Deut.  20:19).  Trees are part of the cycle of breath and remind us to be rooted and to stand tall.  As it is written in Psalm 92, “the righteous flourish like palm trees and grow like the cedars of Lebanon.” Trees are also connected to tikkun (repair) or teshuvah (repentenance).  While the first human beings sinned with respect to the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the Jewish mystics teach that we can expiate that sin by eating with proper intention a multitude of fruits on Tu B’shvat.
What would our intentions be for this year, as we face the consequences of human-caused climate change, which is and will affect all living things?

What are our intentions for our lives for the kinds of foods we eat or the way we eat them?

What are our intentions for our personal lives?

Can we renew ourselves, our societies and our environments so that we are part of the universal Tree of Life?

So what would you like to add to your landscape this season?





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