Tu B’Shevat is a transliteration of ‘the fifteenth of Shevat’,
the Hebrew date specified as the new year for trees.
The Torah forbids Jews to eat the fruit of new trees for three years after they are planted.
The fourth year’s fruit was to be tithed to the Temple.
We mark the 15th of Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah
in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
On this day we remember that “man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19),
and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.