One clue is that the Hebrew word for New in the term New Year, actually, literally, means head (rosh). The idea is that according to kabbala, the beginning (or rosh) of something actually contains all the lights that are going to unfold in whatever it is the rosh of. Consequently, Jewish practice instructs us to give special attention to those first moments of each new cycle of time and fill them with prayer and holy thoughts. At the ins
tant of wakening (the rosh of the day) we recite a prayer of gratitude; on the New Moon we sing Psalms of Praise (i.e., Hallel) along with special prayers; and on the rosh of the year we spend the entire day in prayer and celebration. Everything that occurs during that inaugural period (deeds, thoughts, prayers, emotions) impact the head of that cycle. And since the head defines and delimits future possibilities, anything that affects the head, affects all that will unfold in that cycle, even if its only contact with that cycle was in its first moment of formation.
Tu Bi’Shvat is the rosh of the fruit tree’s new year. All creatures have biorhythms. Plants go dormant in the cold winter damp. Bared of foliage trees look dead; they give no sign of viable life. Then in spring a growth phase begins; they bud and flower and bear their fruit. On Tu bi’Shvat the sap starts to rise and signals the flora to prepare for rebirth. It is the turning point when the plant kingdom shifts from death toward life.
As above, so below. As without, so within. The human being is a macrocosm that contains something of all the different layers of creation within itself. That’s one interpretation of what it means to be created “in the image of G-d.” And so, says kabbala, we all have a:
I want to bless us that as individuals, as members of the community of Israel and the larger world community that we should, through our Tu Bi’Shvat celebration, draw the special lights of this time into the depths of our souls, and of the world and of every creature in it, bringing light and trust and healing there. And in so doing may we contribute, in our small way, to the six millennial process of tikun olam. May all that we do be pleasing in HaShem’s eyes.