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Chodesh Shevat  (about the new month)

As the days are getting longer and we begin to see more daylight, we ready ourselves for the warmth to come, our gardens to be planted, and the sun to shine. So too is nature readying for Spring. Just the other day (Sat. Jan 18th) as I walked to the end of my driveway to shovel, I saw the first signs of life, sap flowing forth from our maples!!! Seeing that I dislike winter very much, this was a welcomed and awe-inspiring sight. We tap our trees every year as the signs of life present themselves and create a delicious syrup that lasts throughout the year. So as we end January, close in on Shevat and approach Tu B'Shevat, we will be lighting our first fire of the season, boiling off gallons of water, while bundled up in our winter coats in order to produce our first harvest of 2020 - maple syrup. 

Tu B'Shevat is the New Year of Trees and as traditionally celebrated the fruits of a variety of trees are enjoyed (olives & pomegranates) as well as wheat, barley, grapes, and date-honey. But why do we celebrate growth in the dead of winter? There are no fruits to be seen. No, there are no visible fruits growing, but life is stirring and beneath the surface life has begun once again. As you look out of your windows, you might see snow or bare trees. Maybe you see barren places where flowers grow or birds perch. Maybe even mud where grass thrived. Although we can't see the fruit yet, we celebrate the growth that comes from within.

My Rosh Chodesh article for Shevat (below) elaborates on this internal growth, the patience & time required, and helps us to know that even in the dark, gloomy cold of January - the sun, warmth, and fruit will once again pop into our world. We just need to trust that our patience will pay off and the fruits of our labor will come. Enjoy!

Happiness as a process by Sara Debbie Gutfreund

Sun, January 26 2020 29 Tevet 5780