The new year of the trees, Tu Bishvat, typically occurs around the same time as Shabbat Shirah, when we read the Torah portion of Beshalach recounting the Israelites jubilant song after crossing the sea to freedom from Egyptian slavery. There is an old tradition to feed birds before Shabbat Shirah in acknowledgement of their song, which is said to have inspired this spontaneous singing on the shores of the Reed Sea. In this source sheet, we look at sources describing the songs of both trees and birds, searching for new ways to inspire our own music and prayer.
Can being humble actually be a source of strength? What does it mean to be “like the earth?” How can I let go of needing the recognition of others, and if I support the advancement of others, can it lead to my own growth as well? What does it mean to bend?
This is a lesson that can be used in a lesson prior to Tu B’Shvat. It can also be used as part of a unit on the environment or on the early pioneers in Israel.
The lesson guides the students through Jewish texts and resources from the National Library of Israel which discuss taking care of the land and preserving it for future generations. Guiding questions are provided to assist the students in analyzing the texts and resources.
At the end of the lesson, students have a choice of creative projects which allow them to implement what they have learned and design a poster.