top of page

Birthday of the Trees - Leviticus 19:23-25

This is Lazarus, my grape vine. In 2022, he is 4 years old. Actually, in 5782, he's 4 years old. That's not in three thousand years, that's the Hebrew year.

We get us a special holiday affectionately called the "birthday of the trees," or Tu B'Shvat. This is occurs on the 15th of Shvat/Shevat, which was January 17/18 and was January 28/29 last year. This is considered the birthday of all plants and how we count how old a plant is.

So, any plant that germinated from January 29 (after sundown) to January 17 (before sundown) would have turned one year old on Tu B'Shvat 2022. Lazarus the vine was germinated in the growing season of 2018 and turned four this year in January 2022.

Why is this date so important?

God gives Moses some stipulations about plants in Leviticus :

"When you come into the land and have planted all kinds of trees for food, you are to consider their fruit as forbidden. Three years it will be forbidden to you. It is not to be eaten. 24 Then in the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, for giving praise to Adonai. 25 In the fifth year you may eat its fruit. So it will yield its increase to you." (Levitcus 19:23-25)

This verse explains the standard procedure for new trees. For the first three years, we are not allowed to eat the food. The fourth year, the fruit belongs to God. This is form of the first fruit offering. Finally, in the fifth year, we can eat the fruit of the tree. This rule only applies to trees, so Lazarus the vine and his kind are exempt.

God often lines up His laws with natural laws to keep us safe or give us guidance. Anyone who has grown fruit trees in a natural setting can tell you about trees younger than five. They flower and produce fruit sporadically and often cannot support the fruit, letting it fall off early in the season. Any pressure on the tree to product can harm the tree and limit its mature capacity. Instead, it is much better to let the tree be until it can produce a secure harvest, often around the fifth year.

So, in learning how to count our plants' birthdays, we also find the thoughtfulness of God. He doesn't give us laws to put us under submission, but rather for own our good. Even though I'm not biblically commanded, I will be giving the first fruits of my first-ever grape harvest to God. But, the first-fruit blessing will have to be a topic for another time.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

End of Gardening Season 2022 - Lessons Learned

This was my first year launching an involved gardening campaign. I had previously just maintained an herb garden in addition to my grape vine. This year, I wanted to grow vegetables for our household

bottom of page