Tonight is Tu B’Shvat. It is a mini holiday that is also known as ראש השנה לאילנות, loosely translated as “Birthday of the trees.”
This holiday has a double meaning. On the one hand, there are Halachot connected to it. Based on the budding of the trees at this time, we determine which year the fruits are connected to.
This year is the fourth year of the seven year Sabbatical years. Therefore, if a tree buds before Tu B’Shvat, it is considered a fourth year tree. After Tu B’Shvat, it becomes a fifth year tree. There is also a connection to the laws of ערלה, and waiting three years after a tree is planted.
The second aspect of Tu B’Shvat is to give praise for Israel and its fruits. Some have the custom of trying to make a “Seder” and eat from the Seven species. It is a holiday where we give thanks for the gift of Eretz Yisrael, and we marvel at its beautiful produce. Chag Sameach.