“But you, mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.”
We can rejoice that the people of Israel are coming home, and a barren Land has seen the restoration of forests and foliage that once clothed the Promised Land. This Monday brings a celebration of that restoration.
Tu B’shevat is the 15th of the Biblical month of Shevat. It is the season when sap begins to rise in the tree and in ancient times it marked an important date for Jewish farmers. In Leviticus 19:23-25 and Leviticus 27:30 there were instructions about tithing the fruit of a tree as well as at what age the fruit could be harvested. It was important to know the ‘birthday’ of a tree. The Rabbis, therefore, established the 15th of Shevat as a general ‘birthday’ for all trees, regardless of when they were actually planted.
Following the rebirth of the State, the date has become a tree planting day throughout Israel. Individuals, organisations, groups of people across the spectrum of society go out to forests, parks and suburban areas to plant trees and flowers with much enjoyment!
A special meal is held at synagogues or homes which includes the eating of nuts and dried fruits.
From the opening pages of the bible in Genesis to the closing ones of Revelation, trees are a significant theme.
There is an interesting verse in Numbers 13:20, “… and whether there are trees in it or not.”. In it the Hebrew word (etz) translated as ‘trees’ in English and in a few cases ‘wood’, is in fact singular, a tree, not trees. It’s as if Moses asks the men to find out if there is a single tree in the land. A very strange request.
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
These have been dark days for Israel as they mourn the horrific terrorist shooting of innocent people last Friday at a Shabbat Service.
Although I write with deep sadness in my heart, it also stirs me to persevere in the great calling of this ministry to comfort Gods people and stand with Israel. May I remind all who read this to please consider giving to our Israel in Crisis Fund, https://icej.org.au/aid/. (Tax Deductible). Out of this Fund we provide subsidies for specialised counsellors and trauma relief services to benefit grieving families and first responders. Let Israel know, Christians are ready to provide care and support amid crisis and beyond.
Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you’.”
ICEJ Australia National Director