This year I am learning about Tu B'Shevat, the New Year for Trees. Although it's not a "big" Jewish holiday, familiar and celebrated by all, it's full of deep, spiritual meaning. In other words, although we might learn about and eat the Seven Species specified in Deuteronomy 8:8, there's also a deeper connection to the two trees in Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge.
I'm looking forward to sharing from Bilvavi: Depth of Eating the Seven Species at our Tu B'Shevat seder tonight, especially these words, "... we can find the design of the entire Creation in a tree."
And today is also the yartzeit of one of my most trusted teachers, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, may his memory be a blessing to us all. In his 48 years of life in this world, Rabbi Kaplan left a legacy of wisdom and patient love that lingers in his many books. He never leaves me feeling inadequate, no matter how deep the subject he explores. Rabbi Kaplan brings us right along with him in his accessible writings on Jewish mysticism, such a wonderful gift from a former street kid from the Bronx. (artwork - The Poets Garden by Vincent Van Gogh - artic.com Public Domain)