From Stagnation to Liberation
Tu B’Shvat symbolizes the beginning of the transition from enslavement to redemption.
It is the time of the year when the sap is beginning to rise up in tree trunks.
Channels are opening, veins are pumping.
Within the tissues of a tree, growing cells are circulating water and nutrients (sap), from the roots.
As the sap rises, it is finding its way to the trunk and branches, flowing upwards towards the crown of the tree.
At one point, the saps journey will begin to manifest in the world; come spring the trees will begin to bear produce.
It’s a quiet, hidden process that begins on Tu B’Shvat. Something percolating underground, away from the light of day. An unrealized state that no one can see. But that changes.
Inevitably, the saps passage will culminate in the spring, on Passover, when fruits and buds emerge.
Amazing. During the window between Tu B’Shvat to Passover, nature transitions from stagnation to restoration.
In Jewish tradition, the tree is a symbol of a person. And just like nature, we too transition during this time. What does that look like? Within us, the time between these two holidays provides an opportunity to shift from inertia to reawakening.
Lethargic during the dead of winter? Uninspired and unmotivated? Fear not. As Tu B’Shvat arrives, life is ripe with new possibilities. Now is a time to focus on what is not visible. Now is the time to form the ideas, insights, and actions that will lead to change come Passover.
Asking the right questions throughout these months can encourage this transition.
Right now, what do you want initiate and develop? Is there a dormant talent that you would like to rouse? Is there a character trait that you would like to kindle? Is there a relationship that you would like to encourage? This is the time to receive new inspiration.
What do you want to free in yourself? What do you want to accept and let go of? What potential reality lies ahead? This is the time to rise towards that which nourishes you.
As you move towards Passover, you can check your progress.
Are you cultivating that which you planted? Are you absorbing that which you need to grow? Are you, like the sap, in ascension mode, inching towards filling your life with sustenance?
Finally, as you sit down on Passover evening, retelling your people’s evolution from slavery to freedom, you can reflect on your recent journey.
Perhaps what began as a humble, invisible revelation on Tu B’Shvat, will be actualized and revealed in the spring. Like natures fruit, you may have given birth to something new, original…..liberating.
Maybe it’s something subtle; a lightness of being, a release, a blissful moment. Perhaps it’s more pronounced. A creative surge, new found love, untapped reserves of determination, a liberation from a dark place or relationship.
Interestingly enough, the connection between Tu B’Shvat and Passover may provide an answer as to why we read the story of the exodus from Egypt now during the weekly Torah portion, and not in the spring. Tu B'Shvat symbolizes the beginning of the transition from enslavement to redemption. Now is the time to prepare for personal freedom.
On Tu B’Shvat we celebrate the new year for the tree as the sap begins to rise. Let nature be our teacher. This is the time to open ourselves to new realties beyond what we currently experience. What we envision now has the possibility to be realized a few months down the road.
Happy Tu B’Shvat!
With thanks to Rabbi Avraham Trugman