January 25th-27th 2021 – Every hand will plant, and every heart exalt: Tu B’Shvat

Sweet treats: New cookies from Dani and Galit! Yummy chocolate chip spelt cookies, and apple strudel spelt cookies. Vegan, no artificial sweeteners. Bon appetite!

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A Poem for Tu B’Shvat/Leah Goldberg

Morning light dances on the wall of our room
Telling us the almond is in full bloom;
The white twig taps on the windowpane:
‘Don’t fall asleep, there’s so much to gain’.
Head out to the grove -the tree is adorned
Like a girl in her best attire worn
And every flower blossomed and sprout did sprout
It’s Tu B’Shvat, Tu B’Shvat, Tu B’Shvat!
Green soil, fragrant and lush and clear
Carries the blessing of a new year –
The labor was not in vain, to the gardener’s delight
On every mound the trees stand upright
And the sun rejoices at the branches so green
Promising the wilderness: here forests will seen.
Every hand will plant, and every heart exalt
Tu B’Shvat, Tu B’Shvat, Tu B’Shvat!

 Raz, very loose translation

This year, I feel happier than ever about the renewal of nature. The regular pace of the seasons is a reminder that despite the chaos in the world of human beings (due to that silly Covid virus, but not entirely…), nature continues its normal routine of winter-spring-summer-autumn. Enveloped in this routine is the true hope that the chaos and instability will cease, and human beings, too, will regain equilibrium, growth and renewal.

Tu B’Shvat is a very Israeli/Mid-Eastern celebration, in the sense that nature begins to awaken during the month of Shvat. This beautiful holiday is very local and intertwined with the climate of Israel, and the warmth we already feel in the air. Ask the Europeans who are shivering from the cold or the North Americans attempting in vain to defrost their frozen hands. Even the Mexicans, whose weather forecast varies from “hot” to “very hot” all year long, or the Thais, who move from extreme “wet” to “dry” will not understand my girls’ glee as they discover another almond tree in bloom along our route to school. This is definitely a local Israeli celebration, observed only in the beloved and thin slice of country between sea, mountain and desert.

This awakening of nature and the sweet promise instilled within it, along with the abundance and fear that the promise may remain unfulfilled, made Tu B’Shvat a day of special liturgical poems and prayers. These mark the joy of giving thanks for nature’s abundance which the Lord bestows, celebrated in a tasty banquet of local fruit and its natural juices and sweet delicacies.

There is something magical about eating fruit to celebrate the tree from which it grows. Biting into a luscious fruit is tasting the sweet, thirst-quenching present, but also sensing the traces of its past: the rain and sun that caressed the tree, watered its roots and made the buds peek from the branches; the wildlife which brushed against its trunk and climbed upon it; the birds who built nests among its branches, the bees merrily buzzing, the flies and other pollinators who hovered over its blooms, transferring pollen from flower to flower, and the ripening – that magical moment when the pollination fertilizes and a new little fetus of a fruit is created. And in the midst of all this sweetness and juice is the seed, the hard, serious heart of the light-headed, seductive fruit, in which the future lies: the next tree, its branches, leaves, flowers and fruit, the sun, winter, rain; the hammock that will be hung from its boughs, the treehouse to be built at its crown, and of course, the joyful band of wildlife that will surround it.

This year more than ever, it’s worthwhile to banish sarcasm and hang-ups: once you’ve feasted on the fruit of the land, go out and thank the trees for their bounty. This was a year of no embracing. Grandma and grandpa had to refrain from hugging the grandkids, who in return took care of grandma and grandpa with heartfelt concern, but only from afar. We learned how to connect via a light brush of the elbow and give virtual hugs, and we all anxiously await the day we can yet again embrace our loved ones. In my imagination, it will be an endless embrace that will be plenty hard to pull away from. But luckily, we can still hug a tree. Yes, I am dead serious.

So, in honor of Tu B’Shvat, I recommend you take a stroll – even if it’s within one kilometer of your home, and find a tree that needs a hug. Simply wrap your arms around it, feel the coarseness of the trunk, the stability (and perhaps its light sway in the breeze), stare at its treetop above (is it exfoliating? Or green and swaying gently?) and simply surrender to this fast embrace. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority have prepared a humorous instruction video to assist you. (if you cannot see it, this is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI0xYZ4o1as)

Enjoy your jaunt into the blooming green of nature, dotted with a colorful parade of flowers. Happy Tu B’Shvat!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror and the Chubeza team

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

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Monday: Kale/Swiss chard/spinach/totsoi, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, turnips/beets, cauliflower/cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, fennel/potatoes, broccoli/Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, onions/leeks. Small boxes only: Parsley root

Large box, in addition: Celery/celeriac, daikon/baby radishes, green fava beans/snow peas or garden peas, parsley/coriander/dill.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, clementinas, oranges/pomelit, red apples, avocados.

Wednesday: Kale/Swiss chard/spinach/totsoi, lettuce/mizuna, broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, fennel/potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes/green fava beans/snow peas or garden peas, carrots, onions, celery/celeriac. Small boxes only: Parsley root

Large box, in addition: Daikon/baby radishes/turnips, beets, leeks, parsley/coriander/arugula.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, clementinas, oranges/pomelit, red apples, avocados.