A SIMPLE TU’BE’SHEVAT SEDER TO ENJOY!

A SIMPLE TU’BE’SHEVAT SEDER 

 

A note to the participant:

In ancient Israel, the 15th of Shevat — in Hebrew, Tu B’Shevat — was the day on which agricultural taxes were levied Crops and fruit grown before this date would be taxed for that year and those grown thereafter would be taxed the following year. 

After the Second Temple was destroyed in the year 70 CE, Jews scattered across the globe yearned to link themselves in meaningful and spiritual ways to their lost homeland.

Celebrating fruits and nuts that grew in Eretz Yisrael, particularly the Seven Species, served for many centuries as a physical connection to the land.

It is easy to understand how this age-old celebration of the trees has become, today, a time for planting new trees in Israel.

THE SEDER

1. Light Candles with the Blessing

As these candles give light and warmth to all who see them, so may we — by the lives that we live — give light and warmth to all who see us.

2. First Cup — White

 

Say blessing: 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech HaOlam, Borei Pri Hagaffen. Amen.Blessed are you O Lord, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Amen 

 

As in a Pesach Seder, here too we drink four cups of wine or juice. On Tu B’Shevat, however, we begin with a cup whose contents are white, reminding us of the snows of winter.

With each additional cup, we will add more and more color. As the color grows deeper and richer, we will be reminded that although nature is now asleep, it will awaken in the spring and return to us the beauty and the gifts for which we give thanks.

3. Eat Grains 

(Remembering the first two of the Seven Species – wheat and barley)

Say ‘HaMotzi’ blessing [after handwashing] 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech HaOlam, Ha’motzt lechem mon ha’aretz.. Amen.

Blessed are you O Lord, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. Amen 

Now eat some form of bread/grains. E.g., challah, different breads, crackers

Dips and cheese can be provided to accompany the grains.

4. Second Cup — Pink

In early Spring, the earth becomes warmer. The snow melts, and the ground begins to thaw.

We add a little red to our white cup as the earth changes its winter clothing, and spring flowers begin to appear. 

We praise You, God, Creator of the universe, who causes juicy grapes to grow.

  Say blessing: 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech HaOlam, Borei Pri Hagaffen. Amen.

Blessed are you O Lord, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Amen 

Drink Second Cup

 

5. Fruits of Israel and the Earth

Three kinds of fruit grow:  Fruit with shells, fruit with pits, and those fruits we can entirely eat.

(i) Israeli fruit with shells, or rind, from the Seven Species are pomegranates; also included are nuts, oranges, grapefruit and etrogim.

We know that God is present in all Creation; but like the outer shell which hides the sweet fruit inside, sometimes it can be difficult for us to see God in our world. Fruit with shells remind us that there is sweetness in everything, including people, even if it is hidden.

 

 

Say blessing for fruit: 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech HaOlam, Borei Pri Ha’etz. Amen.

Blessed are you O Lord, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the tree. Amen 

Eat one or two different fruit with shells.

(ii) Israeli fruit with pits from the Seven Species are dates and olives; also included are apricots, peaches and plums.

Fruit with pits are sweet and delicious on the outside, because of the strong, nurturing seed which hides deep within. 

We too are like the pitted fruit — our lives are filled with happiness and creative spirit, but inside, we must keep our bodies healthy, so they can give us strength and energy.

Say blessing for fruit: 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech HaOlam, Borei Pri Ha’etz. Amen.

Blessed are you O Lord, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the tree. Amen 

Eat one or two different fruit with pits.

6. Third Cup — Light Red

As early spring becomes late spring, the first fruits of Israel are ripening. Strawberries, melons and apricots are picked, while red flowers blanket the now-warmed earth.

Our third cup contains more red than white. As spring moves to summer, the ground is soft and the farmer plants seeds. Water, sunshine, and time will work in harmony to create new life. 

We praise You, God, Creator of the universe, who causes juicy grapes to grow.

    Say blessing: 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech HaOlam, Borei Pri Hagaffen. Amen.

Blessed are you O Lord, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Amen 

Drink Third Cup 

7. Fruits of Israel and the Earth

Israeli fruit from the Seven Species we can entirely eat are figs and grapes, also included are strawberries and pears.

With fruit we can entirely eat, there is no shell to hide the sweetness. There is no pit concealed within. The entire fruit is for us to enjoy. 

May the time not be distant … when all the world will become like the fig or the grape, when it will be completely filled with the sweetness of human kindness, and its blessings will truly be available for all to enjoy.

 Say blessing: 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech HaOlam, Borei Pri Ha’etz. Amen.

Blessed are you O Lord, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the tree. Amen 

Enjoy a few of these fruit.

8. Fourth Cup — Dark Red

Summer arrives, and with it, the full color of an entire world in bloom!

Our fourth cup is completely red, reminding us of the deep, rich beauty of the world God created and has given to us to care for. 

For blossoming flowers, for leaf-covered trees, and fields that are covered with crops which will become the food on our tables — we praise You, God, Creator of the universe, who causes juicy grapes — and all Creation! — to grow.

 Say blessing: 

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech HaOlam, Borei Pri Hagaffen. Amen.

Blessed are you O Lord, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Amen 

Drink Fourth Cup

 

If a further dish is to be enjoyed, serve now… or finish with giving thanks!

9. Final thoughts and Giving Thanks

Fueled by a million man-made wings of fire —
The rocket tore a tunnel through the sky —
And everyone cheered. 

Fueled only by a thought from God —
The seedling urged its way through the thickness of black.
And as it pierced the heavy ceiling of the soil —
Up into outer space —
No one even clapped.

In the Talmud, a story is told of Honi, who once saw an old man planting a carob tree. Honi asked him how long it would take the tree to bear fruit. The man answered, “Seventy years.” Honi then said to him, “Are you certain you will live another seventy years?”

The man said to Honi, “As my ancestors planted for me, I will plant for my children.” 

As there are hope and life when we enter this world, there will be hope and life when we leave it.

May it be your will, O God, that all earth’s trees be filled with beautiful buds and blossoms.

May they be renewed each year, to grow and to give the fruits of sweetness and goodness.

May we all take good care of Your world.

So we can share and enjoy the fruit of Your earth.

And may we each do what we can to secure our children’s future — especially including, on Tu B’Shevat, the planting of new trees — a gift from us, to the children of the future.

[Add your personal thanks and blessings!]

~ Keren Hannah

3 thoughts on “A SIMPLE TU’BE’SHEVAT SEDER TO ENJOY!

  1. Very Sweet!! Happy Tu B’Shevat!!
    I am enjoying just a simple variation of this today, thank you for sharing!! we even have a real Grapefruit from Israel here in Japan! For the other fruits, i am using what is available here:)) Blessings and enjoy the beautiful and delicious fruits and blossoming trees in Israel!!!

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