1.08.2008

Chodesh Shevat tov! !חדש שְבָט טוב

Today is the first day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (שְבָט). This is part 4 of an occasional series.

Etymology
  • From Akkadian shabatu, meaning "the month of destroying rain," from the verb shabatu, meaning "to beat, kill, destroy." It is related to a Hebrew verb that means "to strike, smite," which is also the source of the Hebrew noun shevet, meaning "rod" or "staff" and hence "tribe." Cool!

Biblical names

  • "the eleventh month"
  • Called "Shevat" in Zechariah 1:7, where Zechariah was given a very nice prophecy (see later verses, below):
    ז בְּיוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה לְעַשְׁתֵּי-עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ, הוּא-חֹדֶשׁ שְׁבָט, בִּשְׁנַת שְׁתַּיִם, לְדָרְיָוֶשׁ--הָיָה דְבַר-יְהוָה, אֶל-זְכַרְיָה בֶּן-בֶּרֶכְיָהוּ, בֶּן-עִדּוֹא הַנָּבִיא, לֵאמֹר. 7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shevat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying--
    טז לָכֵן כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה, שַׁבְתִּי לִירוּשָׁלִַם בְּרַחֲמִים--בֵּיתִי יִבָּנֶה בָּהּ, נְאֻם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת; וקוה (וְקָו) יִנָּטֶה, עַל-יְרוּשָׁלִָם. 16 Therefore thus saith the LORD: I return to Jerusalem with compassion: My house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem.
    יז עוֹד קְרָא לֵאמֹר, כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, עוֹד תְּפוּצֶנָה עָרַי, מִטּוֹב; וְנִחַם יְהוָה עוֹד אֶת-צִיּוֹן, וּבָחַר עוֹד בִּירוּשָׁלִָם. {ס} 17 Again, proclaim, saying: Thus saith the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.' {S}
Holidays
  • 15th of Shevat, in Hebrew Tu B'Shevat: the New Year for the Trees. Used for calculating special offerings taken from trees after three years of bearing fruit, only after which their fruit may be eaten.

What happened in Shevat?

Other cultures
  • "Şubat" is the name for the month of February in Turkish.

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the following correspond to the month of Shevat:

  • Letter: tzadi
  • Color: blue-green
  • Jewish zodiac sign: pail (The New Year of Trees of the month of Shevat is the time that the rain waters of the winter months begin to ascend in the veins of the tree and bring it new life. The ascent of water in general is represented by the pail.)
  • Tribe: Asher
  • Sense: eating, taste
  • Controlling organ/limb: stomach, esophagus

1 comment:

alg's dad said...

I thought that the fruit of a tree (planted in Israel) is considered arla (forbidden to eat) for three years after it was planted, not for three years after it starts bearing fruit. But maybe I'm wrong. Check this out. (I'm too lazy to check it myself, but might have to if my etrog trees ever bear any usable fruit.)

Maybe it's obvious, but you might tell people that the Jewish zodiac sign of "pail" is better known in the non-Jewish world as "Aquarius."