Shevat: Reaping What Is Naturally There

Shevat: Reaping What Is Naturally There

Paul Schulman

How can an agricultural holiday be celebrated during a year of fallow?

Consider Tu b’Shevat as a holiday during which we celebrate nature independent of our actions. Through this lens, we can appreciate Shmita not as a year of deprivation, but rather a celebration of sustenance. What a blessing that the land has the ability to flourish and provide for us even when we don’t force it! This fact, in and of itself, is cause for celebration!

This lesson can be applied to our own lives, off the fields. With all of our daily stresses, it’s easy to lose sight of our inner (and outer) natural beauty and abilities. How different we’d feel if instead of exclusively focusing on responsibilities and difficulties during this Shmita year, we took a deep breath and smiled at the beauty that is always present. And, there’s no better time to do this than during Tu b’Shevat.

While we benefit from agriculture’s generosity and bounty every day of the year, we have only one day solely focused on its celebration. Similarly, while handling the daily stresses of life, how often do we notice the ever-present beauty that surrounds us, and IS us? What changes would we see in our mood and interactions if, when drawn to anger, we took a deep breath and noticed the beauty that naturally surrounds us.

As difficult as it may be, the world needs us to spend this Shmita year reaping what is naturally there.