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Or, more specifically, what is/are the reason(s) for not saying tachanun on various occasions and how does Tu b'Shvat fit in.

(I'm looking for classic reasons, not 'it's got to be somebody's birthday today')

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+1. Can I recommend you change to the title? To something like "Why no Tachanun on various occasions?" –  Hacham Gabriel Feb 8 '12 at 1:52
    
@HachamGabriel, This is kind of like an Ee Hachi. Without Tu b'Shvat, I would have said that we don't say tachanun on a day of Yom Tov/Simcha (or 9 b'Av is called moed). I just don't see how Tu b'Shvat fits in. –  YDK Feb 8 '12 at 2:37
    
Oh! Then this deserves an extra +1 –  Hacham Gabriel Feb 8 '12 at 2:43
    
If any of the official unofficial moderators think it should be changed, I welcome them to do so. –  YDK Feb 8 '12 at 3:17
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2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 131:6) brings down the minhag not to say tachanun on Tu Beshvat. It is quoted earlier in the Beit Yosef in the name of the Rokeach (Siman 312 in the Rokeach according to the Beit Yosef but I don't see it there). The Beit Yosef (quoting the missing Rokeach) says the reason is because it is the Rosh Hashana for trees. The Gra on the Shulchan Aruch there (sk 13) explains that all four Roshei Shana are Yamim Tovim (וכמו כל ד' ר"ה שהן י"ט). The Magen Avraham there (sk 16) quoting the Tikkun Yissachar Daf 25 (bio) explains that the minhag in Ashkenaz is to celebrate Tu Beshvat by eating lots of tree-fruits.

Rabbi Eliezer ben Shimshon (brought in Mordochai Mo'ed 701) was asked about a community which had declared a set of fast days and one ended up falling on Tu Beshvat. The community wanted to know if they needed to push off the fast. He ruled that they should push off the fast, because the Mishna (Rosh haShana 1:1) lists all the Rashei Shanah together, which he understands to be implying that their status viz-a-viz fasting is equivalent. Perhaps this opinion is the original source.

T"u ViShvat Sameach!

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@Vram The reason for the difference is that I always held that you shouldn't think about proper dikduk while 'learning' as it is unnecessary brain usage to focus on it but you should rather just say whatever is most natural and gets the point across. But when I am speaking I speak properly :) –  Double AA Feb 8 '12 at 5:18
    
@Vram, now that I'm thinking about it, I guess it should also be vish'vat with a chirik and a dagesh chazak in the shin? –  YDK Feb 8 '12 at 6:07
    
@YDK Yes to the chirik under the vet, but no dagesh chazak. Mem shin and hey hayedia give dagesh chazak, lamed bet kuf vav and hey hasheaila do not. –  Double AA Feb 8 '12 at 6:11
    
@DoubleAA So wouldn't that make it tu vish-bat with a rafe in the beis? We're seriously going to ruin this holiday! –  YDK Feb 8 '12 at 6:47
    
@YDK :) The bet remains rafeh (without a dagesh. dagush is with a dagesh) so it's veshvat. compare to Shemot 7:4 Bishphatim where the pey remains rafeh. i think technically since the sheva under the shin would have been na it downgrades to a sheva meracheif whereby it's pronounced like a nach but doesn't close the syllable. –  Double AA Feb 8 '12 at 6:57
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Tu b'shvat is one of the four Roshei Hashanah brought in the first mishna of maseches Rosh Hashanah. These days generally have a status of Yom tov, or at least a semi-moed, and therevore are days of some type of simcha, and we do not say tachanun.

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This answer would be much improved if you cited a source for your claim. Also, since when are, say, 1 Elul and 1 Nissan "yomim tovim" more than any other Rosh Chodesh? I myself never see any celebrations going on then. –  jake Feb 8 '12 at 3:53
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NussenDuvid, welcome to the site. It would be helpful if you had a source that a rosh hashana, related to din, has a status of a yom tov since there is no korban and no command of simcha. For example , if Rosh Chodesh Nissan were not a Yom Tov for other reasons, why would it be a yom tov just because it is designated as reference point for a king's years? –  YDK Feb 8 '12 at 3:58
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@jake, yeah, what you said. –  YDK Feb 8 '12 at 3:59
    
@Jake On the first of Elul we blow the shofar, and on the first of Nissan we give special status for the whole month. For most of Jewish history, until about 100 years ago, you would not see celebrations on Tu Veshvat either. –  avi Feb 8 '12 at 7:25
    
@avi, blowing shofar on first of Elul has nothing to do with the fact that its the rosh hashana for maaser, nor does the month of Nissan get off of tachanun because it's the rosh hashana for kings. –  jake Feb 8 '12 at 14:38
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