The Un-Greening of Tu B’Shvat
Redacted from an article by brilliant iconoclast Professor Steven Plaut,
University of Haifa, Israel
Almost everything that most people “know” about Tu B’Shvat is totally wrong and completely false. Tu B’Shvat, the 15th day of the month of Shvat in the Jewish calendar, has been deconstructed in recent years and converted into a holiday of ecology and environmentalist political agitprop.
(ag·it·prop – Political propaganda, especially favoring communism and disseminated through literature, drama, art, or music)
It is waved about by the Tikkun Olam (Heal the World) Pagans as a political banner to demand that all Jews support the Green political agenda. The wacko pagan “Eco-Judaism” movement, including its Tikkun dervishes, has made it their holiest of all holidays, a day to hug bushes and worship tree spirits and nature. Jewish assimilationist liberals in the United States use it as theological ammunition to disarm anyone criticizing environmentalist fanatics.
Tu B’Shvat is not a holiday of ecology, and has nothing to do with environmentalism. It also is not a day on which Jews celebrate pristine forests, national parks and wilderness areas. It is, if anything, the very opposite. It is the celebration of agri-business and the exploitation of nature for human consumption.
Tu B’Shvat is decidedly not the time when Jews celebrate the blossoming of trees. It is the middle of winter, when, even in Israel, almost no trees are blossoming. (The almond tree is an exception.) The custom of going out and planting trees on Tu B’shvat is a modern deconstruction of the meaning of the day and is, in fact, rather silly. Tu B’Shvat is the worst part of the year in which to try to plant trees and get them to grow. I have no doubt that 80% of the famous saplings planted on Tu B’Shvat by Israeli school children never really take root and grow.
If anything, Tu B’Shvat is the “New Year of Trees” precisely because it is when trees are not blossoming and when it is the very worst time to be planting saplings. Tu B’Shvat is the time when the agricultural year for produce begins, for religious counting purposes.
Tu B’Shvat is a happy time simply because farmers are about to begin a new agri-cycle. This is so in exactly the same sense as the “New Year for Farm Animals”, also discussed in the Talmud although completely forgotten by almost all Jews, which starts on the first day of Elul in late summer.
Because it is a day in which the annual business cycle in agri-business begins, there is not the slightest smidgen of an environmentalist political agenda in the real meaning of the day. Because it is a celebration of farming, it certainly cannot be used as religious artillery ammunition by those who demand that pristine rain forests and wilderness areas be preserved and their conversion into farms be prevented.
So why do so many people think Tu B’Shvat has something to do with preventing greenhouse gasses or promoting animal rights or preserving rain forests? Because the Tikkun Olam Pagans, the assimilationist Leftism-as-Judaism proponents of pseudo-Judaism in the Diaspora and in Israel, have intentionally hijacked and distorted its meaning altogether.
Want to celebrate Tu B’Shvat in the real manner it was intended? Chop down a tree for lumber, slaughter some farm animals for dinner, build a farm in the forest, and fish to your heart’s content.
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