Tu B’Sh’vat

TU B’SH’VAT (New Year for Trees) Scripture Readings

Tu B’Sh’vat is the 15th day of the Biblical month of Sh’vat. Observance of this day is not commanded, but there are some beautiful traditions associated with it. Many celebrate this day by planting trees or donating money for trees to be planted in Israel. Some have a custom of eating 15 different fruits, including those native to the Land, such as pomegranates, olives, dates, and figs. Some families plant a cedar tree if they have had a boy or a cypress tree for a girl. When they eventually marry, some branches are used in the marriage canopy (huppah).

Psalm 104:16-17

16 Yehovah’s trees are satisfied —
the cedars of the L’vanon, which he has planted.
17 In them sparrows build their nests,
while storks live in the fir trees.

Psalm 120-134

120

A song of ascents:

1I called to Yehovah in my distress,
and he answered me.
Rescue me, Yehovah, from lips that tell lies,
from a tongue full of deceit.

What has he in store for you, deceitful tongue?
What more will he do to you?
A warrior’s sharp arrows,
with red-hot coals from a broom tree.

How wretched I am, that I’m an alien in Meshekh,
that I must live among the tents of Keidar!
I have had to live far too long
with those who hate peace.
I am all for peace;
but when I speak, they are for war.

121
A song of ascents:

1 If I raise my eyes to the hills,
from where will my help come?
My help comes from Yehovah,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip —
your guardian is not asleep.
No, the guardian of Isra’el
never slumbers or sleeps.

Yehovah is your guardian; at your right hand
Yehovah provides you with shade —
the sun can’t strike you during the day
or even the moon at night.

Yehovah will guard you against all harm;
he will guard your life.
Yehovah will guard your coming and going
from now on and forever.

 

122
A song of ascents. By David:

(1) I was glad when they said to me,
“The house of Yehovah! Let’s go!”
Our feet were already standing
at your gates, Yerushalayim.

Yerushalayim, built as a city
fostering friendship and unity.

The tribes have gone up there, the tribes of Yehovah,
as a witness to Isra’el,
to give thanks to the name of Yehovah.
For there the thrones of justice were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for shalom in Yerushalayim;
may those who love you prosper.
May shalom be within your ramparts,
prosperity in your palaces.

For the sake of my family and friends, I say,
Shalom be within you!”
For the sake of the house of Yehovah our God,
I will seek your well-being.

123
A song of ascents:

(1) I raise my eyes to you,
whose throne is in heaven.
As a servant looks to the hand of his master,
or a slave-girl to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes turn to Yehovah our God,
until he has mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, Yehovah, have mercy;
for we have had our fill of contempt,
more than our fill of scorn from the complacent
and contempt from the arrogant.

 

124
A song of ascents. By David:

(1) If Yehovah hadn’t been for us —
let Isra’el repeat it —
If Yehovah hadn’t been for us
when people rose to attack us,
then, when their anger blazed against us,
they would have swallowed us alive!
Then the water would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us.
Yes, the raging water
would have swept right over us.

Blessed be Yehovah, who did not leave us
to be a prey for their teeth!
We escaped like a bird from the hunter’s trap;
the trap is broken, and we have escaped.

Our help is in the name of Yehovah,
the maker of heaven and earth.

 

125
A song of ascents:

(1) Those who trust in Yehovah
are like Mount Tziyon,
which cannot be moved
but remains forever.

Yerushalayim!
Mountains all around it!
Thus Yehovah is around his people
henceforth and forever.

For the scepter of wickedness
will not rule the inheritance of the righteous,
so that the righteous will not themselves
turn their hands to evil.
Do good, Yehovah, to the good,
to those upright in their hearts.
But as for those who turn aside
to their own crooked ways,
may Yehovah turn them away,
along with those who do evil.

Shalom on Isra’el!

 

126
A song of ascents:

(1) When Yehovah restored Tziyon’s fortunes,
we thought we were dreaming.
Our mouths were full of laughter,
and our tongues shouted for joy.

Among the nations it was said,
Yehovah has done great things for them!”
Yehovah did do great things with us;
and we are overjoyed.

Return our people from exile, Yehovah,
as streams fill vadis in the Negev.

Those who sow in tears
will reap with cries of joy.
He who goes out weeping
as he carries his sack of seed
will come home with cries of joy
as he carries his sheaves of grain.

 

127
A song of ascents. By Shlomo:

(1) Unless Yehovah builds the house,
its builders work in vain.
Unless Yehovah guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.

In vain do you get up early
and put off going to bed,
working hard to earn a living;
for he provides for his beloved,
even when they sleep.
Children too are a gift from Yehovah;
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
The children born when one is young.
are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.
How blessed is the man
who has filled his quiver with them;
he will not have to be embarrassed
when contending with foes at the city gate.

 

128
A song of ascents:

(1) How happy is everyone who fears Yehovah,
who lives by his ways.

You will eat what your hands have produced;
you will be happy and prosperous.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
in the inner parts of your house.
Your children around the table will be
like shoots from an olive tree.

This is the kind of blessing that will fall
on him who fears Yehovah.

May Yehovah bless you from Tziyon!
May you see Yerushalayim prosper
all the days of your life,
and may you live to see your children’s children!

Shalom on Isra’el.

 

129
A song of ascents:

(1) Since I was young they have often attacked me —
let Isra’el repeat it —
since I was young they have often attacked me,
but they haven’t overcome me.

The plowmen plowed on my back;
wounding me with long furrows.
But Yehovah is righteous;
he cuts me free from the yoke of the wicked.

Let all who hate Tziyon
be thrown back in confusion.
Let them be like grass on the roof,
which dries out before it grows up
and never fills the reaper’s hands
or the arms of the one who binds sheaves,
so that no passer-by says,
Yehovah’s blessing on you!
We bless you in the name of Yehovah!”

 

130
A song of ascents. By David:

(1) Yehovah, I call to you from the depths;
hear my cry, Yehovah!
Let your ears pay attention
to the sound of my pleading.

Yah, if you kept a record of sins,
who, Yehovah, could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that you will be feared.

I wait longingly for Yehovah;
I put my hope in his word.
Everything in me waits for Yehovah
more than guards on watch wait for morning,
more than guards on watch wait for morning.

Isra’el, put your hope in Yehovah!
For grace is found with Yehovah,
and with him is unlimited redemption.
He will redeem Isra’el
from all their wrongdoings.

 

131
A song of ascents. By David:

(1) Yehovah, my heart isn’t proud;
I don’t set my sight too high,
I don’t take part in great affairs
or in wonders far beyond me.
No, I keep myself calm and quiet,
like a little child on its mother’s lap —
I keep myself like a little child.

Isra’el, put your hope in Yehovah
from now on and forever!

132
A song of ascents:

(1) Yehovah, remember in David’s favor
all the hardships he endured,
how he swore to Yehovah,
vowed to the Mighty One of Ya‘akov,

“I will not enter the house where I live
or get into my bed,
I will not allow myself to sleep
or even close my eyes,
until I find a place for Yehovah,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Ya‘akov.”

We heard about it in Efrat,
we found it in the Fields of Ya‘ar.
Let’s go into his dwelling
and prostrate ourselves at his footstool.

Go up, Yehovah, to your resting-place,
you and the ark through which you give strength.
May your cohanim be clothed with righteousness;
may those loyal to you shout for joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
don’t turn away the face of your anointed one.

11 Yehovah swore an oath to David,
an oath he will not break:
“One of the sons from your own body
I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and my instruction, which I will teach them,
then their descendants too, forever,
will sit on your throne.”

13 For Yehovah has chosen Tziyon,
he has wanted it as his home.
14 “This is my resting-place forever,
I will live here because I so much want to.
15 I will bless it with plenty of meat,
I will give its poor their fill of food.
16 Its cohanim I will clothe with salvation,
and its faithful will shout for joy.
17 I will make a king sprout there from David’s line
and prepare a lamp for my anointed one.
18 His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but on him there will be a shining crown.”

133
A song of ascents. By David:

(1) Oh, how good, how pleasant it is
for brothers to live together in harmony.

It is like fragrant oil on the head
that runs down over the beard,
over the beard of Aharon,
and flows down on the collar of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon
that settles on the mountains of Tziyon.
For it was there that Yehovah ordained
the blessing of everlasting life.

 

134
A song of ascents:

(1) Come, bless Yehovah, all you servants of Yehovah,
who serve each night in the house of Yehovah.
Lift your hands toward the sanctuary,
and bless Yehovah.
May Yehovah, the maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Tziyon.

Matthew 7:13-24

13 “Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; 14 but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

15 “Beware of the false prophets! They come to you wearing sheep’s clothing, but underneath they are hungry wolves! 16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Can people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every healthy tree produces good fruit, but a poor tree produces bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, or a poor tree good fruit. 19 Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire! 20 So you will recognize them by their fruit.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. 22 On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’

24 “So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on bedrock.

Matthew 7:28-29

28 When Yeshua had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at the way he taught, 29 for he was not instructing them like their Torah-teachers but as one who had authority himself.

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