Thawing and thinking ahead with Tu B’Shevat

Photo: Pixabay:

Cathleen Kronemer

Back in the late 1200s, Rabbi Menachem Meiri wrote of the “winter season” as extending from the month of Tevet until the month of Nissan. Thus, the 15th of Shevat signified a halfway point between autumn and spring. Every year on this day, we optimistically view the first half of the coldest season as well into our rear view; even a late snowfall seems less threatening during this second half. At this point in time, the process of “rebuilding nature’s buds” can safely commence without too much fear of frost. This brings us to the modern-day celebration of Tu B’Shevat.

Jews consider this holiday a turning point, reminding us that from the darkest and coldest moments of the year, G-d calls forth new life. Too often we take nature for granted, failing to embrace or even notice its abundant beauty. Perhaps owing to the fact that we all lead hustle-bustle lives, we no longer make time to simply “frolic” in the outdoors as we did when we were carefree children. Tu B’Shevat encourages us to embrace the natural world and celebrate its glory and complexity, reaffirming the notion that holidays know no age limit.

This Tu B’Shevat, treat yourself to a moment or two of lingering over a sunset. Wake up early enough to witness the sunrise dawning on a new day. Fret not over a pending snowstorm; rather, recall how the fluffy piles of white can dazzlingly reflect the shining sun. Bundle yourself up along with your little ones and spend part of the day building snow forts, snowmen and snow angels. Defrost your limbs and your heart by sipping hot chocolate…with lots of creamy marshmallows.

Cathleen Kronemer

In our greenhouse, I continue to marvel at the daily new growth of green beans, cilantro and lettuce. On the dreariest of days, the sun still manages to permeate the glass ceiling and nudge our plants along, providing evidence of G-d’s belief in unending life cycles. The tradition of Tu B’Shevat lives among us. Hang in there…the thaw will come, and it will bring blossoms of hope and promises!

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Kronemer was a longtime health and fitness blogger for the Jewish Light.