Question: Today [February 4th]is the Jewish holiday, Tu B’Shevat (Arbor Day). What is the spiritual meaning of this holiday from the Kabbalistic perspective?
Answer: The wisdom of Kabbalah deals with the evolution of man until he reaches the level of the uppermost force of nature. In the meantime, this force is concealed from us, but we can discover it to the extent that we grow. The best symbol of growth is the tree. Therefore, the new year of the trees is celebrated on the 15th of the month of Shevat (Tu B’Shevat) according to the Hebrew calendar. During this time, the trees begin to grow again and to bloom, which means that nature revolves from withering during the fall until the summer when everything begins to open up and to bloom. On this day, there is a switch toward regrowth in the land of Israel, and therefore we celebrate it. This holiday is related to fruit, to the gifts of the land and mainly of the trees. This does not refer to what the land itself produces, the vegetables, but to different kinds of fruit. People eat fruit and drink wine.
This holiday symbolizes a person’s growth since man is called the tree in the field. The Torah says that a man, during his lifetime, is like a tree in the garden. Therefore, he should be looked after and taken care of if we want him to bear fruit and not to grow like a wild tree.
It is emphasized that the holiday of Tu B’Shevat is not just a celebration of trees, but the holiday of the cultivated trees that bear fruit, which means those that were looked after and from which man expects fruit, just like a person who develops spiritually. In that case, we must take care of the tree: to hoe around it, water it, clean the fruit with steam, cover them from the cold, and prune the leaves and branches. There are 39 actions that must be performed on trees, and they are all an allegory of the spiritual work that a person must internally perform on himself. Then, he will grow and bear the right fruit. The holiday of Tu B’Shevat reminds us that we are a fruit tree that must bear good, sweet fruit. We must think about that and take care of ourselves properly.
Question: What is the meaning of fruit?
Answer: Fruit is the human part in us that grows so that it can be picked from the tree, blessed, and eaten. The fruit unites and integrates the common work of the Creator and man. Man must take care of the tree and exert himself in every possible way. The Creator gives the Light and all the minerals in the earth for that, and eventually, they receive the fruit. All of a person’s work add up to the fact that he now can eat that fruit in order to bestow for the Creator’s sake.
I wish everyone a happy Tu B’Shevat, and bless you all to grow and be a good tree!
From KabTV’s “Tu B’Shevat” 2/4/15