On the 15 of Shevat, corresponding to the 10th of February, we will be celebrating Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees.
Customarily, certain grains and fruits mentioned in the following quote from the Torah are eaten:
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill, a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and [date] honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8).”
These items are collectively known as the seven species and each has been given a characteristic.
According to an article on the My Jewish Learning website, these are the characteristics of each of the seven species.
- Wheat represents chesed, kindness, because it is so nourishing and accessible.
- Barley is the embodiment of gevura, restraint, due to its thick hull.
- Grapes signify tiferet, beauty, due to their color and manner of growing.
- Figs represent netzach, endurance, for their lengthy ripening stages.
- Pomegranates symbolize hod, majesty or glory, for their crown shape.
- Olive oil represents yesod, foundation, for the staple role that the ingredient plays in many foods.
- Dates denote malchut, kingdom, thanks to their digestive benefits.
Eating from the seven species shows an appreciation of nature and gratitude for the world around us. Only the first fruits of these seven items were allowed (in addition to animals and birds) as sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem
Shabbat’s kiddush on February 8 will feature dishes using these seven items.
Come and enjoy a taste of Israel and beyond.
Books about Israeli and Israeli foods will be on display in the Gallery.