I find Jewish culture fascinating and follow a Jewish woman’s blog who has taught me so much. This week, Rachel Mankowitz shared about Tu Bishvat, the New Year of the Trees, which began last evening, and continues through today, January 28.
Rachel says historically, this was an agricultural festival celebrating the emergence of spring in Israel. In the US, Jewish children celebrate by eating fruits and nuts that grow in Israel.
Rachel wrote about two blessings they recite on this holiday. The first is simple:
“Blessed are you, Lord our God, ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.”
The second blessing is called shehechiyanu. (Please don’t ask how to pronounce it.)
It’s less about celebrating a new thing and more of a celebration for whenever we experience something new. It’s not just a blessing of thanks, but rather it says:
“Blessed are you, Lord our God, Sovereign of all, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.”
Celebrating the fact that we survived long enough to experience this new thing, allows us to acknowledge the work, fear, and suffering it took to get to this point. (We are celebrating what it took for survival.) We are blessing all of it.
In my wives’ care group, we are BIG into celebrating. We cheer each other’s courage. We applaud steps toward healing. We acknowledge it isn’t easy to get where we are, yet we’ve made it this far. (Sometimes, we even zoom with party hats on—no kidding!)
I love this part of betrayal-trauma recovery! It gets us to smile. We laugh! We raise a glass—even if it’s just water—and cheer each other on.
Friend, have you looked how far you’ve come? Have you acknowledged the stamina to get where you are? Pronounce the blessing of shehechiyanu. You have reason to celebrate! Amen!
( A special thank you to Rachel Mankowitz for sharing her culture and knowledge!)