On Tu B'Shvat, which is Rosh Hashana L'Ilon, the new year for trees (Rosh Hashana 2a) – there is a custom to eat fruits of the tree. On Shavuos, which is Yom Din, judgment day, for fruits of the tree (Rosh Hashana 16a) – the Mishna Berura 494:10 says in the name of the Magain Avraham that we put trees in the synagogue, and in houses, as a remembrance that we are being judged on the fruit.

Now this seems to be upside down. When it is the new year for trees (note: it is not the new year for fruits of the tree) – Tu B'Shvat – we are eating fruit, and when we it is a Yom Din for fruit – Shavuos – we do something with the trees. Should it not be the other way around, that on Tu B'Shvat we should do something with the trees, and on Shavuos we should be eating fruit?


2 Answers 2


The question was asked by the Satmer Rav quoted here. As cited there he answered

The customs are indeed appropriate. On the day when trees are “judged,” we are interested in determining the success of the tree during the previous year. That is done by assessing what it has produced. On the other hand, when our focus is on the fruit and we want to assess the delectability of the yet unripe ones, we look at the vitality and vibrancy of the tree. If the tree is strong and healthy, we can assume the fruits will be as well.

  • do you know where the Satmer Rebbe writes this?
    – eliavs
    Jan 14, 2019 at 10:03

On Shavous we are indeed celebrating the fruit of the tree. One of the opinions given by the Midrash of the Etz Hada'as was that it was Chitoh. The Shtei Halechem, the only korban made from wheat, was brought on Shavous, (the Ritvoh connects the two ideas) the day that the tree is judged. The judgement of the tree is strongly tied to the judgement of the status of mankind, as symbolised by the trees. Are we on the level that we can once again be meritorious of the wheat growing on trees as it did before Odom sinned?

In short, we are not, as indicated in the question, ignoring the fruits on Shavuous, but celebrating them in the most profound way possible, by bringing them as a korban.

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