In this podcast episode, Tzvi and Meir-Simchah discuss the Jewish New Year for trees, Tu B’Shvat.
This epsiode takes a good look at Tu B’Shvat the holiday, tracing it from the Mishna to modern day.
Along the way we discuss the halachot (Jewish Law) of produce, and explore why Man likes tree metaphors so much.
Of course, no discussion of Tu B’Shvat would be complete without talking about what the Tree of Knowledge actually was. Yes, there are trees in Paradise. Many people see these trees as metaphors in and of themselves, so there’s a meta level discussion going on here.
From this, we begin to wonder about means and ends (which justifies which?), as trees and fruit are themselves a metaphor for means and ends. Means and ends are often presented as a moral question – but once you’re focused on ends at all, you’re already in an amoral position.
This leads us, of course, to Spinoza and Plato. I mean, everyone likes talking about them. Plato’s Republic is a discussion of means and ends, after all – and quite a few insist it was written to highlight precisely this point! Spinoza, on the other hand, seems to say proper means will create a proper end. Justice, to Plato, is an end. To Spinoza, its a means. And Spinoza is closer to the Torah tradition – he was schooled in it, after all. Oh, and that Torah, itself, is a Tree of Life…
We end off with a nice insight into the deeper meaning of the Tu B’Shvat holiday. We aren’t going to spoil it for you. Listen to it for yourself.
Tzvi’s daughters make a guest appearance in the introduction. They’re rock stars, y’all.
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