Is Tu B'Shvat a Minor Holiday?
I recently heard the argument that the Jewish holidays are divided into major holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and Passover and minor holidays such as Chanukah and Tu B’Shvat. I beg to differ. I do not agree with this division. All our holidays have enormous importance and great reasons to be celebrated.
There is however one major difference between what many think as major holidays and what is considered "minor" holidays such as Chanukah and Tu B’Shvat.
Many Jews consider the Jewish holidays that were commanded in the Torah as major holidays or religious holidays and the one which were not of a Torah origin as minor holidays. However, some of the "Minor" holidays have in fact world wide importance.
Without the event that lead to the celebration of Chanukah, for example, and saving of the Jews from an almost certain and complete annihilation, there would be no western civilization as we know it. There would be no Christianity, no Islam and for that matter, no Judaism. The world would have been much different without the moral precepts of Judaism to guide humanity's ethical evolvement.
While Tu B’Shvat is an entirely different kind of "Minor" Holiday, it certainly has world wide implication as well. The Holiday of Tu B’shvat could be considered as the origin of world celebrations of nature and of Gaia, Arbor day. It is the ancient Jewish expression of appreciation of mother earth.- the first ever of its kind among western civilizations.
Tu B’Shvat is about the acknowledgment of nature's utmost importance to human survival. It recognizes the vulnerability of mother earth and the urgent need and obligation to take care of her.
Tu B’Shvat reminds us of the urgency of taking care of our planets by, among other things, drastically reducing pollution of all kinds, eliminating toxic emissions and toxic chemicals that do not disintegrate as well as stopping deforestation.
When we celebrate Tu B’Shvat we remind ourselves that our ancestors understood the value of healthy nature to our survival some 2500 years ago, at times when most of the nations were engaged in killing each other and caring for nature was totally foreign to them.
The holiday of Tu B’Shvat is therefore our acknowledgement of the importance of working together as united dwellers of our wonderful earth to maintain it, keeping it clean and healthy.
May we all work together to make it so....