Tu b’Shvat: Celebrating the Impregnation of Mother Earth

In Jewish tradition, when do we celebrate conception? This question is answered by the Jewish New Year for trees: Tu b’Shvat. Tonight (Sunday January 24) starts the Jewish New Year for Trees. It is commonly referred to as Tu b’Shvat which simply means the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat. It almost was known as Echad b’Shvat, the first of Shvat. 2500 years ago, two of our great sages, Shammai and Hillel, argued over when the new year for … Continue reading

Parsha Vayishlach: What Happens When Things Go Out of Control

Hi everybody. I hope this finds you all in good health and good spirits. The portion of the torah that we read this week is a continuation of Yaakov’s (Jacob) journey to becoming Israel.  It includes the reconciliation of him and his brother Esau, and the destruction of the city of Schem, the death of Yaakov’s parents and his wife Rachel, and ends with Esau moving to make room for Yaakov, which is followed by a strange, repetitive listing of … Continue reading