Tu B’Shvat is the New Year for the Trees ראש השנה לאילנות. As in all other holidays in the Jewish calendar, Tu B’Shvat offers a unique opportunity for insight into living and personal growth. Throughout the centuries, Kabbalists have used “the tree” as a metaphor to understand G-d’s relationship to the spiritual and physical worlds. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, in his 18th century classic “The Way of God “דרך ה’, teaches that the higher spiritual realms חלקי הבריאה are roots that ultimately manifest their influence through branches and leaves in the lower realms.
In the 16th century, the Kabbalists of Tzfat compiled a Tu B’Shvat seder, somewhat similar to the Seder for Pesach. It involves enjoying the fruits of the tree, especially those that are native to the Land of Israel שבעת המינים. In addition, it discusses the philosophical and Kabbalistic concepts associated with the day. Among other things, the Seder is a great way to appreciate the bounty that we so often take for granted, and to develop a good and generous eye for the world around us.