One of my favorite columns in The Jewish Standard is the Torah commentary (D’var Torah). I particularly enjoyed reading the Jan. 29 article by Cantor Kereth Spencer-Shapiro. Her clear, precise explanation of Tu b’Shvat brought back wonderful memories of my youth and the wonderful experiences I had growing up in celebrating Jewish holidays. We celebrated the birthday of trees and enjoyed the fruits, mentioned in the Torah, of olives, dates, grapes, figs, and pomegranates. I remember my parents making contributions each year for the purchase of trees to be planted in Israel. I learned that although it is not a major holiday, it is designated in the Talmud as the “New Year of the Trees.”
This article reminded me of how nature and music meet in many musical compositions. Nature is praised and we celebrate it in song and in the praising of God.
Anne Frank, in 1944, wrote in her diary for the last time, “Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It’s covered with leaves and even more beautiful than last year.”
Tu b’Shvat is a festive holiday and the beauty of a tree is the fruit it produces. Mitzvot and good deeds are man’s fruits and brings us closer to spiritual perfection.
Thank you, Cantor Kereth Spencer-Shapiro, for your beautiful commentary.