The festival of “Tu B’shvat” is one of the 4 Jewish “new years.” Though there are several “new years” on the yearly Jewish calendar, it is not as confusing as it may sound. Just as we divide a year into 4 seasons, the Jewish people divide up their year with 4 different “new years.” The festival of “Tu B’shvat” is the New Year for trees. While the title “Tu B’shvat” may sound like an impressive Hebrew term, it literally just means “the 15th day in the month of Shvat.” In Judaism several holidays are named just by the date which they fall on. The date of “Tu B’shvat” is also referred to in Judaism as “Rosh HaShanah L’eilanot—The Head of the year for trees.”
This holiday marks the time period when the first trees in the Land of Israel wake up from their winter sleep and begin to blossom. It is truly the agricultural “new year” in Judaism. Traditionally, Jews will plant trees, eat fruit from the land of Israel and/or at least try to eat the seven species of fruit mentioned in the Torah. Grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates are all “fruits of the land” that people eat, celebrating the fact that, as the Prophet Isaiah said, “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” The budding of fruit trees is a sure sign that the redemption of the world is coming soon. Yeshua said in Mark 13, “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.” Who is the “He” that Yeshua is referencing? It is “the Son of Man,” who is the Mashiach—the Messiah.
Rabbi Abba was recorded in the Talmud as saying (Sanhedrin 98a), “You have no more explicit manifestation of the end of days than this following phenomenon, as it is stated: ‘But you, mountains of Israel, you shall give your branches, and yield your fruit to My people of Israel, for they will soon be coming’ (Ezekiel 36:8). When produce will grow in abundance in Eretz Yisrael, it is an indication that the Messiah will be coming soon.” Lastly, the great commentator Rashi also commented on these verse from Ezekiel saying, “When Palestine becomes so very fertile, Messiah's advent is near, and there can be no clearer sign than this.”
What this all tells us is, we are living in the times leading up to the time of the Messiah! Israel is alive, the fruit is flourishing and the trees are blossoming! This Tu B’Shvat (on the 28th of January) I would encourage everyone to plant a tree, eat some fruit, buy some products from the land of Israel, believe in the coming redemption, and be excited about the times we are living in! God’s land and people are coming alive right before our eyes! In the book of Song of Songs, it actually writes of the time we are living in today. It says in Song of Songs 2, “The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.” The Land of Israel is returning to its Garden of Eden-like state and we are all privileged to be a part of it. As King David exclaimed in Psalm 34, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” We here at Blessed Buy Israel invite you to taste and see the goodness of God by supporting the ongoing restoration happening here in the Land of Israel.