Religion and the Environment

Religion and the Environment

Religion and the Environment: A Campaign to Raise Awareness of the Environment and Discover Common Ground in the Judeo-Christian and Buddhist Communities

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tu B'Shvat

It is interesting to note that not only is the enviroment important to Judaism in scripture, but also in holiday celebrations. This past February 13th was the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shvat. Shvat is one of the months in the Jewish calender and Tu stands for the hebrew letters "tet" and "vav" to create the number 15, so it is the 15th day of Shvat.

Tu B'Shvat is the Jewish Arbor day, celebrating the new year for the Trees. During the holiday a "seder" takes place (a ritual service invovling prayers and food) where there are 7 grains and foods that represent the 7 species of the land of Israel, this include: dates, olives, figs, pomegrantaes, grapes/raisins, wheat, and barley. There are also fruits such as oranges, avacados, and pomegranates, and nuts with shells such as walnuts, almonds, coconuts and pistachios. But that is not all. For the seder there is also a need for fruit with edible seeds (raspberries, strawberries), inedible pits (peaches, apricots), wine (both light wine and dark) and then a charity box (also known as a tzedakah box). All of these aspects are necessary to perform a proper seder. They are used to represent the different parts of nature, specifically trees.

There is a website that has more information on the holiday and even TONS of information about how Judaism relates to the environment. I think it is important to note that within Jewish tradition there are ever prayers that are to be said when amazing acts in nature occur such as a thunder strom, sight of a rainbow, eating goods from nature, and more. The site is:

And as the Jewish tradition would say, Chag Sameach (happy holiday!)

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