Monday, January 25, 2010

Tu B'Shevat - A Jewish Holiday That Can Be Celebrated by All Lovers of the Planet

Tu B'shevat is one of the four new years in the Jewish tradition. It is our New Year for the Trees and one way we celebrate is by eating the fruits of the earth to reaffirm our connection with the Oneness of the Universe, knowing that each of these earthly delicacies contains a spark of the Divine.

According to Rabbi Marcia Prager, "All four new years mark the cycles of the Earth and celebrate our connection to these cycles. Jewish tradition is deeply rooted in natural cycles, giving us an opportunity to identify with nature on even deeper and more profound levels. As we observe and celebrate the cycles of sun and moon, we deepen our awareness of the sacred dimension of life: We celebrate and make holy all the cycles, so that we will live in harmony with them, and so that their flow of blessing will not cease.

A prayer from Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlov reminds us to go outside and savor and celebrate, pray and be joyful:

Master of the Universe
Grant me the ability to be alone
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day
Among the trees and grass,
among all growing things,
And there may I enter into prayer
To talk to the One to whom I belong.

May we remember each day, this lesson of Oneness with the Universe -- even if we have to go outside for our Awe Moments -- allow us to carry them with us with each step of our journey.

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