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Tu B’Shvat: “Life holds the possibility of inner transcendence”

Tu B’Shvat originally was the day in Ancient Israel when trees were considered a year older. Their birthday for tithing purposes. Tu B’Shvat was reformed by the kabbalists of Safed in Northern Israel as a celebration of nature, its fruits, and the "tree" of life. At Tu B’Shvat seders we drink four cups from the fruit of the vine and eat many different kinds of fruit from trees—from the hard walnut to the seed-filled pomegranate—focusing on different aspects of the Divine and of humanity.

This year we have another opportunity to reach deep and find the energy for rebirth within ourselves. Deep into the winter, we are hungry for spring. We want to branch out from under the covers and scarves and masks. It has been almost a full year of living with the disease, living in dis-ease. Tu B’Shvat reminds us to learn from the tree. Rebirth is upon us. Soon, soon. It is inevitable. It might not look like anything is happening now but right under our noses nature is getting ready to bloom with life anew. Inside ourselves, we can discover the possibility already growing inside us, readying for all that life hold.

Join Kol Ami for an evening of spiritual snacking as we taste our way through the Divine qualities within the fruits of creation. Kol Ami members-there is a special gift coming in the mail that will be useful for this seder.

Thursday 1/28 7pm

Join us on Zoom. Please find the log-in information in our weekly Hakol or by emailing

A poem for reflection in honor of Tu B'Shvat by Cathy Ostroff

We are each given exactly one chance to be

—Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

Every tree was once a seed

that waited.

A seed knows how to wait.

A cherry tree will wait for a hundred years.

A lotus seed may wait a thousand years

for a chance to become a tree.

Most seeds hope for an opportunity

that will never come,

to shed their hard coats

and take root.

What does it take to pare away the husks

of our own hardness?

To put away resentment, selfishness, arrogance?

In spite of doubt and stubborness,

someone believed in us, nourished us.

So whatever keeps us tethered to obstacles,

let go, focus, begin again,

ready to pray.

Life holds the possibility

of inner transcendence,

moments of love and awe

so powerful that they call upon us

to redirect the course of our lives:

to ascend the holy ladder and

know the divine.

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