On Monday night and Tuesday we will celebrate Tu Bishvat, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Tu Bishvat is also known as the new year of the trees; the Mishnah mentions this date as the cutoff point when counting the age of a tree. This is important for the laws of terumot and maaserot (tithing) and shmittah (the sabbatical year), as well as orlah (fruit from a tree is prohibited until the tree is in its fourth or fifth year). It has become traditional in modern Israel to plant trees in honor of the holiday, even though the rabbis probably picked this mid-winter date because it’s the least likely time to plant trees and would cause the least confusion about which year is involved.
Because this year is a shmittah year, we will not plant any trees. Any fruit produced from blossoms that bloomed after this Tu Bishvat will be considered fruit of the current sabbatical year (meaning it will begin to be a concern around Passover through Passover next year), and have a special status known as “kedushat sheviit.” Vegetables go according to the year that they are picked (you can read more about shmittah here.)
In honor of Tu Bishvat, my daughter lovingly collected, arranged, and photographed the fifteen fruits in the pictures. She refused to include any dried fruits, because even though they are considered “Tu Bishvat” fruit, they were a compromise for Jews who celebrated the holiday in the Diaspora. In many places fresh fruit wasn’t available, but all of the fruits pictured above grew in Israel. Can you name each one? (Thanks also to commenter Tamiri; one of the fruits grew in her garden.)
Bonus: Two of the fruits are technically vegetables, have kedushat sheviit, and require the blessing of “borei pri ha’adamah” (“the Creator of the fruits of the ground”).
Happy Tu Bishvat!