Ps. 104:16-17, Ps. 120-134, Mt. 7:13-24, 28-29
When you come to the land and you plant any tree, you shall treat its fruit as forbidden; for three years it will be forbidden and not eaten. In the fourth year, all of its fruit shall be sanctified to praise the L-RD. In the fifth year, you may eat its fruit. -Leviticus 19:23-25
There are four new years... the first of Shevat is the new year for trees according to the ruling of Beit Shammai; Beit Hillel, however, places it on the fifteenth of that month. -Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:1
Tu B'Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is a holiday also known as the New Year for Trees. The word "Tu" is not really a word; it is the number 15 in Hebrew, as if you were to call the Fourth of July "Iv July" (IV being 4 in Roman numerals). See Hebrew Alphabet for more information about using letters as numbers and why the number 15 is written this way.
As I mentioned in Rosh Hashanah, Judaism has several different "new years." This is not as strange a concept as it sounds at first blush; in America, we have the calendar year (January-December), the school year (September-June), and many businesses have fiscal years. It's basically the same idea with the various Jewish new years.
Tu B'Shevat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. See Lev. 19:23-25, which states that fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years; the fourth year's fruit is for G-d, and after that, you can eat the fruit. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B'Shevat, so if you planted a tree on Shevat 14, it begins its second year the next day, but if you plant a tree two days later, on Shevat 16, it does not reach its second year until the next Tu B'Shevat.
Tu B'Shevat is not mentioned in the Torah. I have found only one reference to it in the Mishnah, and the only thing said there is that it is the new year for trees, and there is a dispute as to the proper date for the holiday (Beit Shammai said the proper day was the first of Shevat; Beit Hillel said the proper day was the 15th of Shevat. As usual, we follow Beit Hillel. For more on Hillel and Shammai, see Sages and Scholars).
There are few customs or observances related to this holiday. One custom is to eat a new fruit on this day. Some people plant trees on this day. A lot of Jewish children go around collecting money for trees for Israel at this time of year. That's about all there is to it.
Tu B'Shevat will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:
- Jewish Year 5768: sunset January 21, 2008 - nightfall January 22, 2008
- Jewish Year 5769: sunset February 8, 2009 - nightfall February 9, 2009
- Jewish Year 5770: sunset January 29, 2010 - nightfall January 30, 2010
- Jewish Year 5771: sunset January 19, 2011 - nightfall January 20, 2011
- Jewish Year 5772: sunset February 7, 2012 - nightfall February 8, 2012
16The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly and are filled with sap, the cedars of Lebanon which He has planted,
17Where the birds make their nests; as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.
1In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.
2Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
3What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?
4Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.
5Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!
6My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.
7I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.
1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
1I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
2Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
4Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
5For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
7Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
9Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.1 I lift my eyes to you,
O God, enthroned in heaven.
2 We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy,
just as servants keep their eyes on their master,
as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.
3 Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy,
for we have had our fill of contempt.
4 We have had more than our fill of the scoffing of the proud
and the contempt of the arrogant.
1If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;
2If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
4Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
5Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
1They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
2As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
3For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.
4Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
5As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.1 When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,a]">[a]
it was like a dream!
2 We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
5 Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
6 They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of Solomon.1 Unless the Lord builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.
2 It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones.
3 Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.
4 Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
5 How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.
1Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
2For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
5The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
6Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.
1Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:
2Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
3The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
4The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.
5Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.
6Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:
7Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.
8Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the LORD be upon you: we bless you in the name of the LORD.
1Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
2Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
3If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
5I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
6My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
7Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
8And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
1Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
2Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
3Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.
1Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions:
2How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
3Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
4I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
5Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
6Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
7We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
8Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
9Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
10For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
11The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
12If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
13For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
14This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
15I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
17There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
18His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.
1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
3As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
1Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.
2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.
3The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
28And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.