Study and Theory/
Tu BiShvat

Elchanan Leib Levinsky

A Bit of Astrology

Shvat. It is marked by its coolness towards public matters. Frost and snow prevail in the hearts of our rich and mighty, and "evil spirits" settle in the minds of our rabbis and students and generally, there are storms and blizzards in the Jewish settlement.

 

In the Land of Israel there is a commotion and shambles about the Sabbatical ... The sages of Jerusalem and its heads sit and perspire and seek a power for prohibition - and their hearts are as cold as the terrible ice.

 

And our country has frost and snow as well. All minds have dried out, all the hearts have become cold...

 

It is true that here and there is a glimmer of light, the heritage of their bread, a warm heart, a Jewish heart ... warm things ... But what are all these compared to the vast frozen crowd, all of whose emotions have frozen and have become stagnate, and the air-meter descends all the way down ... we've already reached below the zero line...  And who will now calculate and who will now measure the degrees of our "gloomy attitude" to the public matters, to the needs of the public, to the land of our forefathers, to the revival of our nation and our language?

 

And who knows for how long? And when will the wonderous end of that "cool heart" come to be...

And the "bad spirits" - when will they subside in the world of the Jews? All astrologers are weary, and vision has been sealed from every prophet, and this "terrible secret" is high and concealed from people. Only you, the Lord, knew.

 

On the fifteenth day - the New Year for Trees. The best Rosh Hashana.

On the first of Nissan – falls Rosh Hashana – and Passover with its expenses and pains,  its questions and chatter and the seeds of its barley are behind our doors. On the first of Tishrei – and the ten days of repentance, the fast of Yom Kippur, cantors, prayer leaders, kaparot and Etrogs of Corfu – are still ahead of us.

The first of January is the head of the year – and patent certificates, taxes and levies will concern us.

 

But on the fifteenth of Shvat is a New Year – and with a spoonful of carobs, as simple as that, we fulfill our duty. And how lovely it would be to have such a New Year on the first of Nissan, the first of Tishrei – and especially on the first of January. On the first of January certificates are taken to various shops.

 

Sellers and businessmen, even those who have decided to observe Shemita – obtain certificates for an entire year, in order to blind people's eyes and to increase their credit power...

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