Tu Bishvat History
Tu Bishvat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט, literally: the 15th of the Lunar Month of Shevat) is the New Year for trees (similar to Arbor Day). It falls in January or February each year, typically when almond blossom is seen in Israel. It is one of the four New Years in the Jewish Calendar.
According to the Jewish Law (Halachah), the 'New Year for trees' defines the beginning of the year for separating tithes for the poor and Levite. Tithes are 10% portions of a product, which are allocated as charity to either the Levites or the poor. Torah Law requires, that when the Holy Temple was standing, these tithes would be removed from the produce, before it was 'fit for consumption'. There was a seven year cycle, culminating in the Shmittah year, when fields lay fallow. After every seven seven year cycles, a Jubilee, 50th year was celebrated.
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Tu Bishvat References and Related SitesRobert Goodman, Teaching Jewish Holidays: History, Values, And Activities, A.R.E. Publishing, 1997