Hillel Chai Shevat
Rosh Chodesh Shevat


According to The Book of Formation (Sefer Yetzirah)

Each month of the Jewish year has a corresponding color, a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, a zodiac sign, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, a sense, and a controlling organ/limb of the body.

Shvat is the eleventh of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar.

The 15th day of Shevat-Tu Beeshvat-is the "New Year of Trees" according to the school of Hillel; according to the school of Shamai, the "New Year of Trees" is the first of Shevat. The "New Year of Trees" is the day from which the new year is reckoned for the fruit of the trees with regard to the mitzvot of ma'aser ("tithes"; fruit that blossoms after this date may not be taken as a tithe with fruit that blossomed before) and orlah (the fruit of a tree less than three years old is called orlah, and is forbidden to eat). Tu Beeshvat is celebrated by partaking of fruit, especially of the seven species with which the land of Israel is blessed.

Tu Beeshvat, the 15th day of the 11th month alludes to the secret of God's essential Name, Havayah (י־הוה). The value of the first two letters of Havayah, (the yud and hei, which represent the higher, concealed level of unification) is 15. Its last two letters (vav and hei, which represent the lower, revealed level of unification), equal 11. Indeed, as explained elsewhere, the full secret of the Havayah is the secret of the "Tree of Life," the tree of the month of Shevat.

  Letter: Tzadik - צ

The letter tzadik (צ) symbolizes the true tzadik ("righteous one"), "and the tzadik is the foundation of the world." The one consummate tzadik of the generation personifies the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden (all of whose trees correspond to the souls of the righteous).

The very form of the letter tzadik (especially its final form, ץ, which represents the true manifestation of the tzadik in the future) resembles a tree. In the Torah, man is called "the tree of the field" (עֵץ הַשָׂדֶה), which equals 474. 474 is also the gematria of "knowledge" (דַעַת), the unique property of man in general and of the tzadik in particular. The word "knowledge" in Hebrew implies the power of "connection." Thus, the month of Shevat is the month for connecting to the true tzadik of the generation, the Tree of Life of the generation.

In Hebrew: שְׁבַט

Color: Blue-Green  

Mazal: D'li (Aquarius--the 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" (דְלִי), which in Hebrew steams from the root meaning "to lift up," as in the verse "my eyes are lifted up to heaven" (Isaiah 38:14). The letter of the previous month, Tevet, is the ayin (ע), which literally means "an eye." When the ayin of Tevet is lifted up to connect with the tzadik of Shevat, the word "tree" (עֵץ) is formed.

The Ba'al Shem Tov said that when one meets a water-carrier carrying pitchers full of water, it is a sign of blessing. The tzadik is considered the true manifestation of a water carrier.

"'Water' refers to Torah." The month of Shevat is referred to as the new year for the study of Torah. The eating of the fruits of Shevat corresponds to the partaking of and integration of the sweet fruits of Torah wisdom. And so the waters of Shevat represent the sweet waters of Torah.

Sunday, January 2, 2011; 87 Hillel students from all over North America joined together for the same common goal - Tzedek.

The first morning we arrived at the Miami Jewish Federation to get a taste of what the need are of the Jewish Community in Miami.
We heard the importance of one's involvement within any community you are in and how important our work this week will be.
Our first project of the week; serving food to Seniors in need.  The feeling of being able to help and hear the stories of the elderly and then to have the opportunity to then do an exercise class was amazing.  It was an incredible experience and so much fun.
Later in the evening we heard from a panel of speakers about their homelessness and how they overcame all of their strife and are now living a better life.  The speakers shared about their struggles with drugs and family.  It was difficult to hear some of what they had to share.  The opportinity to hear their stories, ask questions was incredible.  I was overwhelmed with emotions and just wanted to reach out and hug them.  The greatest part, was that I actually had the opportunity to do so...as did many others.  It was truly cathartic.
We are now on day 2 and the experience just keeps getting better and better.  Our service project is to beautify an elementary school and tutor young children.  I am looking forward to working with all of the other students and youth to make a difference and am already thinking about how I can help make a change in my own community. 
Jillian Steinberg
Dawson College

On behalf of my 12 CEGEP colleagues

Oy Hanukkah! Oy Hanukkah!

Oh what a party it was indeed for Jews and non-Jews alike who got together on Monday December 6th, at the Hive at Loyola campus for Concordia's first ever Jewish Cultural Night! Filled with latkes, sufganiyot and dancing rabbis the night was filled with surprises.

Every hour our Concordia Guru of Spiritual Fun David Adelman would get onto the microphone and scream: "L'Chaim!!!!!!!" which would roar up the crowd and kept the eternal fire of Hanukkah burning bright with Jewish pride. Even though the party was in the middle of exam time and during a very intense snow storm Hillel Concordia, ASFA, CSU and CHABAD pulled through and made this a night to remember.

Tu B'Shevat

The New Year for Trees

Tu B'Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar -- celebrated this year on Thursday, January 20, 2011 -- is the day that marks the beginning of a "New Year for Trees." This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

Legally, the "New Year for Trees" relates to the various tithes that are separated from produce grown in the Holy Land. These tithes differ from year to year in the seven-year Shemittah cycle; the point at which a budding fruit is considered to belong to the next year of the cycle is the 15th of Shevat.

We mark the day of Tu B'Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that "Man is a tree of the field" (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.


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Hillel Montreal Welcomes Back our Students right!

This month we will be hosting: a Citywide Welcome Back Shabbat Dinner on January 21st at the Jack Reitman Hillel House, with reform and conservative services; and our annual Bar Mitzvah Bash Party on January 27th.

For more information on what's new at Hillel Montreal check out