January 14th, 2022
12 Shevat 5782
Candle Lighting: 4:46 p.m.
This coming week we will be celebrating Tu B'Shevat, the birthday of the trees. One of my favorite legends from the Talmud is about Honi the Circle Drawer, who has become somewhat associated with the holiday. According to the legend, Honi was walking along the road and came across an elderly man who was planting a carob tree. Honi mocked the man for wasting his time, pointing out that the man would never live to be able to enjoy the fruit of his labor. “The tree you are planting will take 70 years to grow,” Honi said. At which point the elderly man responded with what I believe is one of the most beautiful lines in all of Jewish tradition. He famously said “Just as my ancestors planted for me, so too, I shall plant for my children.”
As we prepare to celebrate Tu B'Shevat, I cannot help but be inspired by Honi’s message. Celebrating Tu B'Shevat can be one way that Judaism and Jewish tradition encourages us to be aware of and grateful for the many gifts that have been provided for us by the natural world. And one of the best ways that we can show a true appreciation for the beauty and the blessings that we have been privileged to enjoy, is to ensure that those same gifts, and even better gifts, will be available and accessible for those who will come after us.
Please join us this Sunday for our congregational Tu B'Shevat Seder, which I will lead together with Cantor Leberman. Together, we will explore how Tu B'Shevvat and Judaism can inspire us, and how we can plant seeds that will bear fruit – fruit which can continue to inspire us, nourish us, and feed our world for generations to come.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Josh Dorsch