Tu B’Shvat is known as the “New Year of the Trees“. In some circles of Judaism, when a baby was born, the parents would plant the seed of a tree. – a Cedar Tree for a Boy and a Sycamore Tree for a Girl. As the children grew, so did their trees.
When the Boy and Girl got married to each other, two strong branches would be cut from their trees. These branches would be used to hold the Tallit (Prayer Shawl) over their heads producing the Wedding “Chupah.”
Why would you celebrate this holiday by eating the fruit of the trees? It is winter, and there are no “first fruits” of the trees. How would you answer this question?
In Orthodox Judaism it is taught that this is the day that the sap of the trees started to flow, showing its potential. When you eat the fruit of the tree at this time, you are celebrating the potential of the fruit of that tree.
According to Psalm 1, we are like a tree with potential, which, when developed, will see the reality of its fruit.
It is written in Psalm 1:1-3, “How blessed is the person, who does not take the advice of the wicked, who does not stand on the path with sinners, and who does not sit in the seat of mockers. But he delights in the LORD’s instruction, and meditates in his instruction day and night. He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither. He will prosper in everything he does.
By the loving fellowship with God and the delight in His Instructions, the man is made capable of good. His virtues become growths, which is the outcome of life.
It is the LORD turning the potential of man into reality. It is this “potential into reality” that we celebrate.
My wife, JoAnn, and I have been married for 47 years. My wife is Jewish and I am a Gentile. Last year at this time on Tu B’Shvat, we planted our own “Marriage Tree“. We both paid for 1/2 of a special tree. This tree grows both Lemons and Limes. Two types of fruits and one tree. – “One in Messiah“. Our “Marriage Tree” has already produced fruit – two limes for my wife and one oversized lemon for me.
The lemon was literally “jumping out of its skin”. The two limes were used in an iced tea drink and the lemon was used as a favoring in the iced tea we served to people at our home on Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles)
Sukkot is recognized by Messianic Judaism as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. In his book, “Israel, The Church, and the Last Days,” the author, Rabbi Dan Juster, makes this statement: “I Believe Sukkot is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the Inauguration of the King & Queen” (this can be found on page 273).
It became the perfect day, and way, to celebrate the fruits of our “Marriage Tree”