Today is Tu B’shvat. The fifteenth day in the Jewish month of S’hvat.
In Jewish tradition it’s the “New Year of Trees”.
It’s customary to make a point of eating fruit on this day.
Especially fruit that are associated in the Torah with the Land of Israel.
Like grapes, figs, dates and pomegranates.
… Here’s one of my “Israel Moments.”
Not a “lightning moment” like being moved while standing at the Western Wall for the first time.
But one of those “every day” type of experiences.
I walked into one of those tiny Jerusalem stores that sell all kinds of nuts and dried fruits.
The kind of store its worth walking into just for the amazing smell!
And I noticed the plumpest and the most delicious looking dates I had ever seen.
I said to the Israeli behind the counter, in Hebrew, “Do these dates have pits”?
“Betach. Of course”!
So I said to him, “Do you have any without pits?”
He had this look on his face.
“This guy must be an American!”
He smiles and says, “What’s wrong with a date that has a pit?”
I wasn’t going to tell him.
But I was thinking to myself, like the commercial goes.
“A pitted date gives me freedom!
Freedom to eat it without worrying about the pit.
What did I say to him?
“Please give me a kilo of those dates.”
… I think Jewish tradition may be on the side of the storekeeper in Jerusalem.
There’s nothing wrong with a pitted date.
But we do lose something.
A chance for some inspiration.
… Here’s a suggestion in honor of Tu B’shvat.
Take a fruit that has pits. It could be a date, an apple, orange or any other fruit.
But don’t just eat it.
First think about the tiny seeds inside. And how tiny seeds happen to take root.
How they slowly grow into a huge tree. And how the tree produces amazingly delicious fruit.
Then think, “Wow. What a miracle”!
And before you dig in? Make a bracha. A blessing.
Thank G-d for the gift. And thank G-d for the miracle!
“Blessed are You G-d, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree”.
Or, if you prefer, “Baruch Atah Ado-nai Elohai-nu Melech Haolam Boray pri ha’etz.”
It will take just a few seconds. But the fruit will taste better. And your day will improve!
… If you try it?
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All the best,